Scientist says vitamin-D can help to prevent COVID-19
May 12 2020
Backman and his team, including postdoctoral research associate Ali Daneshkhah chose to look into vitamin D levels after noticing unexplained mortality rates in various countries.
According to researchers, vitamin D affects the functioning of white blood cells (WBCs, white blood cells) in the body.
"Whereas there are now no results from randomised controlled trials to conclusively prove that vitamin D beneficially affects Covid-19 outcomes, there is strong circumstantial evidence of associations between vitamin D and the severity of Covid-19 responses, including death".
Science Alert says vitamin D is a fat-soluble compound that we get either from food or supplementation, or our bodies manufacture from the sun's rays.
They analyzed patient data from at least 10 countries, and their findings could give light to some mysteries about the virus, including why young children are unlikely to suffer from COVID-19.
Till now a weak immune system is known to be the greatest risk factor for COVID-19 infection. They based their study on data from 20 European countries.
After studying global data relating to the coronavirus pandemic, researchers and scientists have unearthed a strong correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates of COVID-19.
The highest average levels of vitamin D found in the north of Europe, due to the consumption of cod liver oil, and vitamin D supplements, and possibly less sun avoidance, the researchers said.
It may be a good idea to spend some time in the sun, especially for those with preexisting conditions and those anxious about COVID-19, as recent research suggests that patients with severe vitamin D deficiency are twice as likely to experience major complications. Children do not yet have a fully developed acquired immune system, which is the immune system's second line of defense and more likely to overreact.
"Vitamin D has been shown to protect against acute respiratory infections, and older adults - the group most deficient in vitamin D - are also the ones most seriously affected by Covid-19".
But no vitamin is a cure-all, and this is no exception. In fact, getting too much vitamin D can have negative side effects.
He did however caution that it won't protect people from catching the virus but could reduce complications and prevent death in those infected.
"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", Vadim Backman, professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern University and a lead researcher in the study said in a press release.