Does vitamin D protect against coronavirus?
Whether vitamin D can protect against illness with COVID-19 is controversial. The following article summarizes previous findings regarding the protective effects of vitamin D in relation to the coronavirus.
Vitamin D deficiency is widespread
In winter in particular, many people suffer from vitamin D deficiency, because usually vitamin D is mainly formed by sunlight on the skin and deficits can easily occur due to lack of sunshine in winter. In addition, the ability of vitamin D synthesis in the skin unfortunately decreases with age, leading to vitamin D deficiency in the elderly.
Get vitamin D through your diet
Apart from sunlight, the diet you eat is an important source of vitamin D. Some high-fat foods, such as salmon, tuna, and liver, contain vitamin D. There are also specialty foods fortified with vitamin D. These include, for example, margarine, mushrooms, and chanterelles. However, only a fraction of the daily vitamin D requirement is fulfilled through food.
Free distribution of vitamin D supplements?
In the UK, health authorities plan to distribute free vitamin D supplements to more than 2.5 million vulnerable people this winter. These are mostly people in nursing homes. This year is more important than ever for people to take vitamin D because most people spend less time outdoors. Therefore, the government has decided to provide vitamin D to those who are clinically particularly vulnerable, explained Dr. Alison Tedstone of Public Health England told the BBC news channel.
Vitamin D protects muscles and bones
Vitamin D is essential for bones and muscles, but also has a preventive effect against respiratory tract infections. If there is a deficiency, it makes sense to take vitamin D supplements. In this context, however, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) warns against overdosing. This can, for example, cause nausea and even severe kidney, heart, and circulatory problems.
COVID-19: People who are sick are often deficient in vitamin D.
In early April 2020, a study showed that people suffering from COVID-19 often experience vitamin D deficiency. Another study involving the University of Cantabria in Santander found that 82.2 percent of people with COVID-19 were deficient in vitamin D. However, in a control group with people without the disease caused by the corona virus, the score is only 47.2 percent.
Possible reasons for increased risk
Researchers say that people who are deficient in vitamin D have a higher prevalence of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In addition, affected people had elevated serum ferritin and troponin levels and a longer hospital stay than those with 25OHD levels ≥20 ng / mL.
However, researchers from the University of Cantabria also stated that they had not found an association between vitamin D concentration or vitamin deficiency with disease severity.
Effect of vitamin D on respiratory infections?
Vitamin D is known to be beneficial for bones, so it is often prescribed for the prevention of osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis. Studies conducted exclusively on children in Asia show that vitamin D can also modulate certain immune functions in respiratory infections.
This could indicate a link between vitamin D and COVID-19. However, experts believe that it is too early to say that vitamin D protects against COVID-19. At this time, several research groups around the world have found that people with a vitamin D deficiency are more likely to suffer from COVID-19 disease. However, this is not conclusive evidence of a causal relationship.
Results of further investigation
Another study found that children with COVID-19 had, on average, lower levels of vitamin D than a control group of healthy children. However, no chronically ill children participated in this study. However, the results suggest that vitamin D levels can be linked to the occurrence of COVID-19.
Serious illness COVID-19 caused by vitamin D deficiency?
Researchers at the German University of Hohenheim have analyzed the results of 30 studies dealing with COVID-19 and vitamin D. It found that the risk of severe COVID-19 disease with lower vitamin D levels was higher than for people with normal vitamin D values.
However, the researchers point out that an existing vitamin D deficiency is often associated with a variety of other pre-existing conditions, which in turn can affect the risk of COVID-19. (as)
Author and source of information
This text conforms to the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been reviewed by a medical professional.
- BBC: Covid: Free vitamin D pills for the 2.5 million vulnerable people in the UK (veröffentlicht 30.11.2020), BBC
- Robert Koch Institute: Answers from the Robert Koch Institute to frequently asked questions about vitamin D (as of 25 January 2019), RKI
- Ali Daneshkhah, Vasundhara Agrawal, Adam Eshein, Hariharan Subramanian, Hemant K. Roy, Vadim Backman: The Possible Role of Vitamin D in Suppressing Cytokine Storm and Associated Mortality in COVID-19 Patients, in medRxiv (veröffentlicht 30.04.2020), medRxiv
- José L Hernández, Daniel Nan, Marta Fernandez-Ayala, Mayte García-Unzueta, Miguel A Hernández-Hernández et al.: Vitamin D Status in Hospitalized Patients with SARS-CoV-2 Infection, in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (veröffentlicht 27.10 .2020), JCEM
- Kamil Yılmaz, Velat Şen: Is vitamin D deficiency a risk factor for COVID-19 in children ?, in Pediatric Pulmonology (veröffentlicht 05.10.2020), Pediatric Pulmonology
- Hans K. Biesalski: Vitamin D deficiency and comorbidities in COVID-19 patients – a fatal association ?, in NFS Journal (Veröffentlicht Volume 20, August 2020, Pages 10-21), NFS Journal
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He cannot replace a visit to the doctor.