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Doctors Warn You Not to Take Too Much of This Vitamin Right Now

Too much of a good thing can have an adverse effect, even amid coronavirus.
Yellow soft shell D-vitamin capsule against sun and blue sky on sunny day

A new medical paper to emanate from the UK is advising patients to avoid taking "megadoses" of Vitamin D amid news that the supplement can support one's immune system during the coronavirus outbreak.  This update comes after a recently published medical study that showed a strong correlation between this key supplement and mortality rates that have come with the coronavirus: Vitamin D.

One of the more challenging aspects of the coronavirus pandemic is the seemingly shifting medical insights on best practices to avoid getting ill. Just a few weeks ago, a Northwestern University-led research team looked at COVID-19 cases from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They discovered a strong correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates from the deadly COVID-19 contagion.

But in a paper published by the British Medical Journal, doctors note that inundating the body with vitamin D can cause toxicity, and note there is zero proof that taking the supplement prevents the coronavirus. "There is no strong scientific evidence to show that very high intakes (i.e., mega supplements) of vitamin D will be beneficial in preventing or treating COVID-19," the report reads. "There are evidenced health risks with excessive vitamin D intakes especially for those with other health issues such as a reduced kidney function."

Yahoo Life reports:

"Many people have low blood levels of vitamin D, especially in winter or if confined indoors, because summer sunshine is the main source of vitamin D for most people," the authors write. "Taking a daily supplement … and eating foods that provide vitamin D is particularly important for those self-isolating with limited exposure to sunlight." Foods high in vitamin D include fatty fish (such as salmon and tuna), portobello mushrooms, fortified milk and yogurt and eggs.

But high doses of the vitamin — which the authors refer to as "mega doses" can be extremely dangerous.

The paper comes on the heels of a study suggesting that vitamin D deficiency may be linked to higher rates of mortality with COVID-19. But the report warns individuals not to simply start taking those mega doses. "The continued spread of the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus, and the disease COVID-19 that is caused by SARS-CoV-2, has led to calls for widespread high-dose vitamin D supplementation," the authors write. "These calls are without support from pertinent studies in humans at this time, but rather based on speculations about presumed mechanisms."

As is the case with most health-related guidance, a balanced approach is key, as well as a healthy dose of skepticism regarding any cure-all. There is no evidence that vitamin D will cure anyone of COVID-19 or even prevent the contraction of coronavirus. Spending time outside, however, and getting good old vitamin D via sunshine?  Healthy living and being out of doors (and not inside) clearly correlates with avoiding the disease.

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Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

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