There’s new evidence that getting enough vitamin D provides significant support in protecting hospitalized individuals infected with Covid-19 from adverse outcomes.
Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) analyzed data from 235 people who were admitted to the hospital with Covid-19. They found that patients older than 40 years old were 51.5 percent less likely to die from the infection if they had a sufficient level of Vitamin D, which they define as being at least 30 ng/mL.
Dr. Michael F. Holick, lead author of the study, and professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics, and molecular medicine at BUSM, says, “This study provides direct evidence that vitamin D sufficiency can reduce the complications, including the cytokine storm (release to too many proteins into the blood too quickly) and ultimately death from Covid-19.”
Patients in the study were followed for the following clinical outcomes including clinical severity of the infection:
· Becoming unconscious
· Having difficulty in breathing resulting in hypoxia and death
· Blood analyzed for inflammatory marker (C-reactive protein
The study authors point out some limitations in the study that involve the following:
- Patients were included who had recorded 25 (OH) vitamin D levels. The study authors say “Some confounding factors, such as smoking, and social economic status were not recorded for all patients and could have a plausible impact on the Covid-19 severity. Also, the RT-PCR test was not performed on all patients with clinical signs of Covid-19.”
- The design of the study is cross-sectional, and therefore authors cannot explain the cause and effect relationship of vitamin D sufficiency and the reduced risk of severity from a Covid-19 infection. In order to study cause and effect, there will need to be large-scale studies and randomized clinical trials (RCTs).
Dr. Holick published a separate study recently that found having a sufficient level of vitamin D can reduce the risk of catching Covid-19 by 54-percent. He also believes having adequate vitamin D levels helps ward off other viruses causing upper respiratory tract illnesses including influenza.
Holick says, “Because vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is so widespread in children and adults in the United States and worldwide, especially in winter months, it is prudent for everyone to take a vitamin D supplement to reduce risk of being infected and having complications from Covid-19.”
In July, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a statement saying “There are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of vitamin D for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.”
However, during an interview on September 10, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease said, “If you are deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. So I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself, taking vitamin D supplements.”