Researchers at the University of Chicago have found that Vitamin D deficiency is associated with a higher likelihood of contracting the coronavirus. In combination with other Vitamin D research, the results may point the way to a quick and inexpensive way to reduce COVID-19 deaths among African-Americans and Hispanics.
David Meltzer, MD, Ph.D, lead author of the article published September 3rd in JAMA Network Open, discussed their findings on a University of Chicago Medicine website. “Vitamin D is important to the function of the immune system and vitamin D supplements have previously been shown to lower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections. Our statistical analysis suggests this may be true for the COVID-19 infection.”
Another study from Spain, published August 29, had test and control groups well-matched for age, sex, comorbidities and clinical indications of COVID-19 severity. In the control group, 50% were admitted to ICU and two died. In addition to the same drugs given to the control group, the test group was given calcifediol, a vitamin D analog, which increases vitamin D levels in the body. The test group had no deaths and only 2% had to be admitted to the ICU.
A study at Trinity College Dublin published in the Irish Medical Journal in May suggested vitamin D deficiency may be linked to higher COVID-19 mortality rates. This study found that Northern Italy and Spain, which had among the highest COVID-19 infection rates in Europe, had high rates of vitamin D deficiency. Norway, Finland and Sweden, which have higher fortification of foods, had lower infection rates and deaths. The authors suggest that because “Vitamin D is important in regulation and suppression of the inflammatory cytokine response which causes the severe consequences of COVID-19 and acute respiratory distress syndrome.”
While further studies are needed, and already underway, these findings may provide an inexpensive way to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 or developing severe complications in those who are infected — especially among minorities.
Two previous studies about vitamin D in minority populations may add additional insight into COVID-19.
In 2015, a study published in Public Health Nutrition concluded wintertime vitamin D insufficiency is pervasive among minority populations, and not uncommon among non-Hispanic whites. A 2014 study in Hispanic Health Care International found “the highest prevalence of low vitamin D levels are among Hispanics and non-Hispanic Blacks,” which may contribute to increased risk of diabetes and its complications.There are currently no comments highlighted.