A health expert explained that going under the sun for 10 minutes daily can reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus.

With the lingering effects of the coronavirus, boosting immunity and maintaining a healthy body decreases the risk of contracting it. Aside from taking vitamins, a Daily Mail report claims that staying under the sun can also help.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney, Australia
(Photo : REUTERS/Loren Elliott)
People surf as Bondi Beach reopens to surfers and swimmers after it was closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), with strict social distancing measures remaining in place, in Sydney, Australia, April 28, 2020.

Dr. Rachel Neale, an Australian skin cancer researcher, said that low levels of vitamin D increase one's vulnerability to the virus. Skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

Dr. Neale told The Australian, "It would make sense that being vitamin D deficient would increase the risk of having symptomatic COVID-19 and potentially having worse symptoms. And that's because vitamin D seems to have important effects on the immune system."

Dr. Neale found last year that high vitamin D intake lowers the risk of acute respiratory infections. COVID-19 is also a respiratory illness that has so far affected 3,124,308 worldwide.

A study among 78,000 patients showed that people with vitamin D deficiency have almost twice the risk of developing acute respiratory infections than those with high levels of vitamin D. The former also tend to be sick longer.

To kindle her body to produce vitamin D, Neale sits under the sun in Brisbane for 5 to 10 minutes every day while those from Sydney should stay for about 10 to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, due to a colder climate in Melbourne, residents should expose themselves to sunlight for a little longer.

While the doctor does not take vitamin D supplements, she accepts they are useful for people who cannot go out.

Vitamin D deficiency linked to severe COVID-19

Meanwhile, researchers from the Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland echoed the importance of vitamin D in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Eamon Laird and Professor Rose Ann Keley from Trinity College have teamed up with Professor Jon Rhodes and Dr. Sree Subramanian from the University of Liverpool to study the effects of vitamin D and the COVID-19 mortality rate worldwide.

The study, which was published in the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics as an editorial, stated that countries in the Southern Hemisphere like Australia have a low mortality rate.

For instance, Australia only had 84 deaths out of 6,731 total COVID-19 cases, which is just 1.2%. Their recovery rate is 83% with 5,626 total number of recovered patients.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney, Australia
(Photo : REUTERS/Loren Elliott)
People walk and jog at the walk side of Bondi Beach after the beach reopens to surfers and swimmers after it was closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), with strict social distancing measures remaining in place, in Sydney, Australia, April 28, 2020.

In contrast, those in the Northern Hemisphere where sunlight is insufficient during spring and winter, except for Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

According to a Nutra Ingredients report, vitamin D helps regulate and suppress the "inflammatory cytokine response" that triggers the severity of CoVID-19 as well as the acute respiratory distress syndrome, which is linked to COVID-19 deaths.

While the study suggests having further studies on the relation of Vitamin D and the coronavirus, it also urges the governments to promote the boosting of vitamin D to about 1,000 units per day.

"It is time for governments to strengthen recommendations for vitamin D intake and supplementation, particularly when under lockdown Vitamin D deficiency correlates with poor sunlight exposure, age, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and ethnicity - all features associated with increased risk of severe COVID-19," the study stated.

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