Vitamin D is needed for many reasons, including correct functioning of the immune system, writes Dr Colin Bannon
I am not alone in being alarmed at the preponderance of deaths from Covid-19 among those with dark skin (UK government urged to investigate coronavirus deaths of BAME doctors, 10 April). While Covid-19 is likely to magnify the effect of social deprivation, I don’t think this is the whole story.
Vitamin D is needed for many reasons, including correct functioning of the immune system. It is converted to its active form by the action of sunlight on the skin. This is impeded by having dark skin and leads to low levels of vitamin D. Supplementing with vitamin D3 at 5000iu daily corrects this deficiency, and it is now an urgent need for all people with dark skin (and most with white). There is a reasonable chance that vitamin D replacement could help reduce the risk we are seeing playing out so tragically in the BAME community.
I am convinced that the damage to health of an unhealthy lifestyle is being magnified by the pandemic. Healthy vitamin D levels might well make a difference. It might be useful if this, and other lifestyle advice, was given more prominence in the daily press briefings.
Dr Colin Bannon