New research indicates vitamin D may help you survive COVID-19 coronavirus infection

Published 11:36 am Friday, May 15, 2020

Recently released medical studies indicate a possible link between increased vitamin D level and the likelihood of a person dying of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

While the research is inconclusive, improving one’s vitamin D level is easy to achieve and has little risk, experts say.

The authors of an Irish study just published in the Irish Medical Journal indicate a connection between the “sunshine vitamin” and improved COVID-19 outcomes.

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Vitamin D has long been thought by some people to have huge potential in improving our immune systems and it’s produced naturally by human skin when it’s exposed to sunlight. It’s also available as an over-the-counter vitamin supplement as well.

The Irish study showed that areas of Europe where high rates of vitamin D deficiency existed also experienced high rates of coronavirus infection and death.

Conversely, the study indicates, areas that had less vitamin D deficiency had less COVID-19 infection and less mortality.

The differences, the study’s authors concluded, was statistically significant.

In the U.S. researchers are similarly putting a focus on vitamin D.

A research team led by Northwestern University recently analyzed data from hospitals and clinics across several countries where COVID-19 was prevalent.

The researchers found patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates — Italy, Spain and the UK — had lower levels of vitamin D compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected.

“While I think it is important for people to know that vitamin D deficiency might play a role in mortality, we don’t need to push vitamin D on everybody,” said Northwestern’s Vadim Backman. “This needs further study, and I hope our work will stimulate interest in this area. The data also may illuminate the mechanism of mortality, which, if proven, could lead to new therapeutic targets.”

The Northwestern researchers report finding a strong connection between levels of vitamin D and the cytokine storm condition in which the body’s immune system overreacts and causes a hyperinflammatory condition. They also found a connection between D levels and mortality in COVID-19 coronavirus patients.

“Our analysis shows that it might be as high as cutting the mortality rate in half,” Backman said. “It will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus, but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected.”