Could vitamin D be an important factor when it comes to the fight against COVID-19?
This fat-soluble vitamin may be best known for its role in calcium absorption and bone health. But in fact, vitamin D is essential to immune health. The latest research when it comes to vitamin D and COVID revealed that those who had deficient levels of vitamin D prior to infection with COVID had a higher risk for severe and critical outcomes of the disease.
This study out of Israel is one of the first to analyze vitamin D levels in patients prior to infection with COVID and the resulting outcome. The records of 253 hospital patients with a positive PCR test who also had Vitamin D serum levels tested two weeks to two years prior to infection were reviewed. Patients were categorized according to disease severity: critical, severe, moderate, or mild. They also classified each patient’s vitamin D status: deficient, insufficient, adequate, high-normal.
- Patients with vitamin D deficiency classified as less than 20 ng/mL were 14 times more likely to have severe or critical cases of COVID than patients with high-normal levels, more than 40 ng/mL.
- Mortality among patients with sufficient vitamin D levels was 2.3%, in contrast to the vitamin D deficient group’s 25.6% mortality rate.
- In a separate observational study, it was noted that supplementing with vitamin D during hospitalization improved outcomes and reduced mortality.
Make sure your vitamin D is in check. Vitamin D deficiency runs rampant globally, especially in the northern hemisphere during the winter. Some recent estimates indicate that 46% of adults in the US have levels that are suboptimal. Having your levels routinely screened and ensuring you are getting adequate vitamin D through safe exposure to sunlight and/or supplementation is crucial.
And while it is still largely unknown why COVID-19 affects people so differently, these findings point to one potential reason why some may be at greater risk than others.