Researchers have discovered a strong link between severe vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates among Covid-19 patients.
The US study found that Covid-19 patients with severe deficiency are twice as likely to experience major complications, including death. Researchers analysed data from patients with Covid-19 in 10 countries, including China, the UK, the US and in Europe.
“…patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as Italy, Spain and the UK, had lower levels of vitamin D compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected,” said a statement from Northwestern University, Chicago, which led the study.
Lead researcher, Vadim Backman, said they discovered a strong correlation between vitamin D levels and cytokine storm -- a hyperinflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system -- as well as between vitamin D deficiency and mortality.
"Cytokine storm can severely damage lungs and lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death…," said Ali Daneshkhah, co-researcher. "This is what seems to kill a majority of Covid-19 patients, not the destruction of the lungs…It is the complications from the misdirected fire from the immune system."
Backman believes vitamin D plays a major role in both enhancing the immune system and preventing it from becoming dangerously overactive. “This means having healthy levels of vitamin D could protect patients against severe complications, including death, from Covid-19,” said the statement.
Vitamin D has increasingly shown to significantly impact on immunity. A study suggests it may be as effective as vitamin C, if not more, for strengthening the immune system, while earlier research found it to be a powerful immunoregulator.
The World Health Organisation suggests everyone takes a vitamin D supplement, according to a report. And in the UK, public health officials have recommended people consider taking vitamin D supplements during the lockdown.
Nutritional expert, Vanessa Ascencao, said research shows that Africa may have the highest frequency of severe vitamin D deficiency and says the focus should be on good health and boosting immunity.
Speak to your doctor about Vitamin D at your next visit.