Although vitamin D plays an important role in our immune system, there is currently no scientific evidence to support its usefulness. to fight COVID-19. This should not therefore be considered as a miracle cure against infection, let the Lille University Hospital know on social networks following several cases of toxic overdoses reported to the establishment’s poison control center. His message posted on Facebook offers scientific insight given by Professor Bernard Cortet, rheumatologist, and Dr Julien Tison from the Lille University Hospital Poison Control Center, who call for vigilance.
“In recent days, the anti-poison center of the Lille University Hospital has received calls because of the vitamin D overdose. Vitamin D overdose is toxic, the risks are multiple: nausea, fatigue, bone risks, convulsions, coma. Be vigilant, ”write the doctors. The latter warn in particular against the danger ofpurchase of food supplements containing vitamin D on the Internet because they are likely to be non-compliant with regulations. While a lot of information is currently circulating on taking vitamin D against Covid-19, the two doctors recommend to always consult your general practitioner first.
In what situation should you see your doctor?
Their message points out that insufficient vitamin D may be a risk factor for severe forms of Covid-19, but in patients with risk factors such as obesity, advanced age or chronic disease. “Taking vitamin D does not guarantee not to be infected with the coronavirus”, add the doctors, adding that it is in the event of a positive test for Covid-19 that a satisfactory vitamin D status is recommended. Thus, two situations must lead toat discuss supplementation with your doctor: a positive test for COVID-19 or if you are a person at risk, knowing that the risk of insufficient intake is higher in some people.
According to ANSES (Food Safety Agency), the body’s ability to absorb or synthesize vitamin D decreases with age, which is why old people constitute a particularly vulnerable population, in which a low vitamin D intake can result in osteoporosis. Other populations are also concerned: newborns, infants, pregnant women and postmenopausal women, “whose hormonal upheaval leads to bone demineralization thus increasing the risk of fracture”. Finally, people with dark or dark skin, for whom the synthesis of this vitamin by exposure to sunlight is less effective, are also more at risk.
For food supplements are to be avoided
Doctors therefore indicate that it is only “if the attending physician considers it necessary, that he will prescribe a vitamin D supplement in the form of a light bulb. Reliable treatment, on prescription and reimbursed by Social Security, ”they conclude. ANSES, for its part, certifies that there are ways to prevent the risks of vitamin D deficiency without needing to supplement. It is indeed “possible to ensure a satisfactory status by exposure to the sun, by practicing a physical activity in the open air for example, and eating with the consumption of foods rich in vitamin D. ”Among the richest: fatty fish, enriched dairy products, egg yolk, butter or even offal.
The Agency also maintains that in order to prevent the risks of induced overdose, drugs are preferable because they guarantee readable information in terms of doses, precautions for use, risk of adverse effects and overdose. “In all cases, the intake must be on dietary or medical indication,” she says. Food supplements can indeed expose to excessively high intakes and cause hypercalcemia (too high level of calcium in the blood) leading to cardiological and renal consequences. A excess vitamin D intake can also cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, weight loss or even severe fatigue.
To find out more about the coronavirus, the editorial staff invites you to discover its more complete and regularly updated articles:
- an article on Covid-19 disease and the evolution of the epidemic
- an article on the different screening tests
- an article on vaccines under development.