Can Vitamin D protect you against COVID-19?

25 March 2021

Did you know that over 70% of white people, and over 90% of people with darker skin, have vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency worldwide? And these numbers have been increasing sharply over the past several decades. Deficiency in Vitamin D is closely linked to all sorts of diseases, weak bones (osteoporosis), a weak immune system, an increased likelihood of catching COVID-19 and of dying from it.

A recent study incorporating data from 21,000 subjects showed that those with a serum vitamin D level < 20ng/ml (i.e. < 50nmol/l), which is considered vitamin D deficient, had a 64% increased risk of getting pneumonia [1]. Other research found that vitamin D deficiency is closely associated with increased severity and mortality from COVID-19, as shown in the graph below [2].

There is now ample evidence that optimisation of vitamin D status contributes to enhanced resistance to viral respiratory tract infection, including COVID-19 [3-6]. However, increasing your Vitamin D blood level to optimal numbers is anything but simple!

Which foods should you eat, how often and in which quantity? Should you expose yourself to sunlight, when and how often? How much Vitamin D your body produces for each hour spent in the sun? Does it depend on the seasons, and on where you live?

These questions are all important, and they are complicated by the fact that we all react differently to intake of Vitamin D through food, supplements, or sunlight. This is because Vitamin D intake and synthesis in our body is strongly dependent on several factors: age, ethnicity and skin color, your body fat, whether you smoke or not, your diet, and the exact location you live in in the world!

Interested to learn how to regulate and optimize your Vitamin D status all year long? Stay tuned for more announcements on this topic!

Stay healthy!

Stanbridge

References:

1) Zhou YF, Luo BA, Qin LL. The association between vitamin D deficiency and community-acquired pneumonia: A meta-analysis of observational studies. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019; 98:e17252.

2) I. Z. Pugach et al., Strong correlation between prevalence of severe vitamin D deficiency and population mortality rate from COVID-19 in Europe, Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 2021, 133: 403–405.

3) Radujkovic A., Hippchen T., Tiwari-Heckler S., Dreher S., Boxberger M., Merle, U. Vitamin D Deficiency and Outcome of COVID-19 Patients. Nutrients 2020, 12, 2757.

4) Telcian AG, Zdrenghea MT, Edwards MR, Laza-Stanca V, Mallia P, Johnston SL, Stanciu LA. Vitamin D increases the antiviral activity of bronchial epithelial cells in vitro. Antiviral Res. 2017; 137:93-101.

5) Zdrenghea MT, Makrinioti H, Bagacean C, Bush A, Johnston SL, Stanciu LA. Vitamin D modulation of innate immune responses to respiratory viral infections. Rev Med Virol. 2017; 27(1).

6) Greiller CL, Suri R, Jolliffe DA, Kebadze T, Hirsman AG, Griffiths CJ, Johnston SL, Martineau AR. Vitamin D attenuates rhinovirus-inducedexpression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFR) in respiratory epithelial cells. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2019; 187:152-159.

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