According to a recent study by researchers from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University in Safed, Israel and the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, Israel—vitamin D deficiency may contribute to the severity of the disease from Covid-19 infection.
The role of vitamin D in protecting against severe COVID-19 is less well established. Continue reading to find out the link between vitamin D and COVID-19.
What Does the Research Suggest?
When comparing patients who had sufficient vitamin D levels before contracting COVID-19 with those who did not, scientists found “striking” differences in the chances of serious illness.
According to a study published in the journal PLOS One, people with vitamin D deficiency before getting COVID-19 were more likely to develop a severe illness than those who had an adequate amount of vitamin D in their blood.
Dr. Amiel Dror, a physician at the Galilee Medical Center and author of the study, said, “It was quite remarkable and striking to see the difference in the chances of becoming a severe patient when one lacks vitamin D as opposed to when one does not.”
The findings are based on 253 admissions to Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, Israel, between April 7, 2020, and February 4, 2021—before the highly contagious Omicron variant emerged.
Is Vitamin D Effective against COVID-19?
ACCORDING TO DROR, Vitamin D is believed to be a key player in the immune system’s ability to deal with viruses that attack the respiratory system.
According to the UK Health Security Agency, the research does not advocate avoiding vaccinations and taking supplements instead. Vaccines reduce the risk of Omicron hospitalization by up to 90%, especially after a booster shot.
The many health benefits of vitamin D include:
- Promoting healthy bones and teeth.
- Lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Supporting the immune system.
During the pandemic, physicians advised their patients to take vitamin D to boost their immune systems. However, there is little evidence to support this advice.
The majority of vitamin D is obtained from direct sunlight on the skin. It can also be found in foods like fatty fish, mushrooms, egg yolks, and supplements.
For most people, vitamin D levels of over 20 nanograms per milliliter are considered sufficient, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—which is also the benchmark used by researchers at Bar-Ilan University and Galilee Medical Center.
Research conducted before the emergence of COVID-19 found that vitamin D reduces the risk of other respiratory infections compared to dummy drugs.
In their published report, the researchers concluded—”Our study contributes to a constantly evolving body of evidence that suggests a patient’s history of vitamin D deficiency is a predictive risk factor associated with poorer COVID-19 clinical disease course and mortality.”