Vitamin D will likely help you beat coronavirus – read details here
Experts say adults should have around 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day. High levels of vitamin D will not stop someone catching the virus, but may be able to reduce complications and prevent death.
COVID-19 patients who have high levels of vitamin D are more likely to survive the deadly disease, according to a new study.
Researchers led by Northwestern University in the US found that patients with severe deficiency of vitamin D are twice as likely to experience major complications and die.
But they say the observational evidence is still preliminary and seek more research into it to understand what causes this connection between vitamin D and coronavirus mortality.
One can take Vitamin D either through certain foods such as fish and mushrooms, or it can be produced by skin cells when exposed to sunlight. Experts say adults should have around 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day.
This finding supports separate studies which also found low levels of vitamin D may make it more likely an individual will die after contracting COVID-19 and that it also helps a person recover after contracting the highly contagious disease.
A study from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam found countries with low vitamin D levels were also the countries with highest mortality and COVID-19 infection rates.
This has been echoed by the latest research from the US.
A 10-week trial from the University of Granada in Spain is also currently ongoing after a recent study by Trinity College Dublin found adults who took Vitamin D supplements saw a 50 per cent fall in chest infections, according to a report by the Daily Mail.
Researchers crunched the coronavirus statistics from various countries that experienced severe outbreaks of COVID-19. It included data from hospitals and clinics in China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the United States.
The research has been published online at medRxiv and has not yet been peer-reviewed.
The research was led Vadim Backman -- a professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University -- who said the study found vitamin could cut mortality rates in half.
He added that having high levels of vitamin D will not stop someone catching the virus, but may be able to reduce complications and prevent death.
The researchers investigated the potential ways in which vitamin D may help fight off severe COVID-19 symptoms. The study found the vitamin helps boost the immune system’s innate response and also reins it in when necessary.
A common issue for patients diagnosed with COVID-19 is their immune system responds aggressively as it tries to defeat the invading pathogen. However, this can lead to an enormous immune response and triggers a cytokine storm.
This itself can be dangerous to patients. It is a hyperinflammatory condition that leads to severe lung damage, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and death.
Ali Daneshkhah, a post-doctoral research who was also involved in the study, says: “This is what seems to kill a majority of COVID-19 patients, not the destruction of the lungs by the virus itself. It is the complications from the misdirected fire from the immune system.”
The role vitamin D plays in preventing this overactive response could be lifesaving, researchers say.
Dr Backman urges caution with these findings and is not suggesting people overtake vitamin D, which can itself come with side-effects. This study comes after last week it was reported that people with low levels of Vitamin D may be more likely to catch coronavirus and die from infection.
The research compared average levels of vitamin D across 20 European countries with COVID-19 infection rate and mortality. It revealed a convincing correlation where countries with low vitamin D levels were also the countries with highest mortality and COVID-19 infection rates.
The study has not yet been peer-reviewed and scrutinised by other scientists and is unable to prove vitamin D is the reason behind this link.
However, the scientists from Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation Trust and the University of East Anglia write in their study: “We believe, that we can advise Vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection.”
This finding backs up a separate study which also found vitamin D may improve a person's chance of recovery after contracting the coronavirus.