Vitamin D supplements might help fight COVID-19

A recently published medical study is showing a strong correlation between this key supplement and mortality rates that have come with the coronavirus: Vitamin D.

A Northwestern University-led research team looked at COVID-19 cases from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They discovered a strong correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates from the deadly COVID-19 contagion. That’s right, vitamin D could save your life.

So what is vitamin D, why are people being asked to consider taking more of it and how might it help our health during the lockdown?

What is Vitamin D?

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Vitamin D levels are lower in those who test positive for COVID-19

Vitamin D is a type of mineral that helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body. These nutrients are needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy according to official NHS guidance.

KEY POINTS

  • Vitamin D is an important vitamin that contributes to the optimum functioning of many body parts
  • When the body lacks the vitamin, it also affects the immune system
  • This will make you prone to viruses and illnesses, including the coronavirus 

Being deficient in vitamin D could lead to the development of bone problems, such as deformities. This is because the main function of this nutrient is to keep phosphorus and calcium in the blood at normal levels. It helps the body absorb the calcium content of food, which is then processed to strengthen and maintain the health of your bones.

There are studies, however, that reveal vitamin D does more than just keep your bones healthy. It also helps your immune system, and lacking this nutrient may heighten your risk of getting infected by the coronavirus.

Coronavirus and Vitamin D Deficiency

The new strain of coronavirus, now called COVID-19 that is believed to have originated from the Wuhan province of China, is causing health and economic problems. Experts say that coronavirus is a respiratory infection disease with symptoms similar to flu or a common cold. You might be wondering how this is relevant to being deficient in vitamin D.

Past and recent observational studies have revealed the relationship between respiratory tract infections like bronchitis or colds and vitamin D deficiency. Aside from keeping your bones healthy and strong, another role of vitamin D is keeping the body’s immune system strong. A strong immune system can fight off illness-causing bacteria and viruses with greater efficacy.

Meanwhile, Dr. Frank Lau, an associate professor of clinical surgery at Louisiana State University, said his research clearly shows that vitamin D can make a difference.

Patients whose levels are low have a weaker immune response to the novel coronavirus, he said. Vitamin D strengthens it, allowing the body to develop antibodies to the virus and prevent it from spreading throughout the body, Lau said.

Clinical trials to see if vitamin D can help infected patients are getting started. Lau’s own trial involves giving vitamin D to patients in the early stages of COVID-19 infection. Meanwhile, a trial in France is investigating whether vitamin D will benefit people with severe infection, he said.

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