At the beginning of March, I said that the most important supplement to take in order to resist a Covid-19 infection or reduce the severity of one is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is normally made from getting sunlight on our skin. Unfortunately, most people living this far north are deficient in Vitamin D. This is especially true for people of color.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the immune system. It prevents inflammation, especially cytokine storms. I recommend it every fall through spring to help prevent colds and flu.
As this pandemic has gone on, I’ve become even more convinced of the importance of Vitamin D.
Older people are more vulnerable to having severe symptoms, with those in nursing homes being hit the worst. There are two reasons that older people are low on Vitamin D. First, they are more likely to not get enough sunlight. Secondly, they are more likely to be on a medication that depletes the vitamin. Specifically antacids, corticosteroids, and statin (for cholesterol) drugs deplete Vitamin D.
Another thing that we have seen with this pandemic is that people of color (and especially black people) have been hit harder than whites. While darker skin helps prevent sunburns, it also prevents the absorption of the sun’s rays to make Vitamin D.
Severity of infections has significantly decreased over this summer with less deaths than what we saw in the spring. While one explanation is that younger people have gotten sick and are less likely to have serious symptoms, another reason is that all of our Vitamin D levels go up in the summer. My expectation is that as the fall turns to winter, we will see a rise in hospitalizations as well as deaths.
As we enter fall, it is imperative that we are all on Vitamin D. I encourage everyone to make sure that their friends and family members are on at least 2,000 I.U. of Vitamin D. Personally, I am recommending 5,000 IU daily and 10,000 I.U. if you are exposed to a sick person or know that you have low blood Vitamin D levels.
Studies on Vitamin D and Covid-19:
Vitamin D appears to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates. (Northwestern University Study) Patients with severe deficiency are twice as likely to experience severe complications, including death.
A Supercomputer Analyzed Covid-19 — and an Interesting New Theory Has Emerged: “Interestingly, Jacobson’s team also suggests vitamin D as a potentially useful Covid-19 drug. The vitamin is involved in the RAS system and could prove helpful by reducing levels of another compound, known as REN. Again, this could stop potentially deadly bradykinin storms from forming.”
Vitamin D sufficiency, a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D at least 30 ng/mL reduced risk for adverse clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19 infection: “Therefore, it is recommended that improving vitamin D status in the general population and in particular hospitalized patients has a potential benefit in reducing the severity of morbidities and mortality associated with acquiring COVID-19”
SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates associated with circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. “In conclusion, SARS-CoV-2 NAAT positivity is strongly and inversely associated with circulating 25(OH)D levels, a relationship that persists across latitudes, races/ethnicities, sexes, and age ranges. Our findings provide further rationale to explore the role of vitamin D supplementation in reducing the risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease.”
Evidence Supports a Causal Role for Vitamin D Status in COVID-19 Outcomes. “Vitamin D prophylaxis potentially offers a widely available, low-risk, highly-scalable, and cost-effective pandemic management strategy including the mitigation of local outbreaks and a second wave.”
Effect of calcifediol treatment and best available therapy versus best available therapy on intensive care unit admission and mortality among patients hospitalized for COVID-19: A pilot randomized clinical study: “Our pilot study demonstrated that administration of a high dose of Calcifediol or 25-hydroxyvitamin D, a main metabolite of vitamin D endocrine system, significantly reduced the need for ICU treatment of patients requiring hospitalization due to proven COVID-19. Calcifediol seems to be able to reduce severity of the disease, but larger trials with groups properly matched will be required to show a definitive answer.”
The link between vitamin D deficiency and Covid-19 in a large population. “In this large observational population study, we show a strong association between vitamin D deficiency and Covid-19 occurrence. After adjustment for baseline characteristics and prior vitamin D levels, acquisition of liquid vitamin D formulations is associated with decreased risk for Covid-19 infection.”
Association of Vitamin D Status and Other Clinical Characteristics With COVID-19 Test Results. “In this single-center, retrospective cohort study, likely deficient vitamin D status was associated with increased COVID-19 risk, a finding that suggests that randomized trials may be needed to determine whether vitamin D affects COVID-19 risk.”
Vitamin D Insufficiency is Prevalent in Severe COVID-19. “VDI is highly prevalent in severe COVID-19 patients. VDI and severe COVID-19 share numerous associations including hypertension, obesity, male sex, advanced age, concentration in northern climates, coagulopathy, and immune dysfunction.”
Vitamin D for COVID-19: a case to answer? (The Lancet) “It would seem uncontroversial to enthusiastically promote efforts to achieve reference nutrient intakes of vitamin D, which range from 400 IU/day in the UK to 600–800 IU/day in the USA.”
Genetically-predicted vitamin D status, ambient UVB during the pandemic and COVID-19 risk in UK Biobank: Mendelian Randomisation study. “In conclusion, our study found suggestive evidence of association between vitamin D and the risk or severity of COVID-19 but further studies are needed.”
Evidence of Protective Role of Ultraviolet-B (UVB) Radiation in Reducing COVID-19 Deaths. “We find a significant negative association between UVI and COVID-19 deaths, indicating evidence of the protective role of UVB in mitigating COVID-19 deaths. If confirmed via clinical studies, then the possibility of mitigating COVID-19 deaths via sensible sunlight
exposure or vitamin D intervention will be very attractive because it is cost-effective and widely available.”
Vitamin D Sufficiency Reduced Risk for Morbidity and Mortality in COVID-19 Patients. “Therefore, it is recommended that improving vitamin D status in the general population and in particular hospitalized patients has a potential benefit in reducing the severity of morbidities and mortality associated with acquiring COVID-19.”