Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of coronavirus disease, according to a new study. The risk of testing positive for COVID-19 was 1.77 times higher for patients with probable vitamin D deficiency.
Low vitamin D levels may increase the risk of contracting coronavirus, according to a retrospective study. reports Fox News.
Researchers at the Medical University of Chicago found that people who were deficient in vitamin D (
“The relative risk of testing positive for COVID-19 was 1.77 times higher for patients with probable vitamin D deficiency compared with patients with probable sufficient vitamin D status, a difference that was statistically significant,” the authors said in a recently published publication JAMA Network Open Study Materials.
The study involved 489 patients who had their vitamin D levels measured for a year before testing for the new coronavirus. It found that patients with levels classified as deficient were more likely to test positive for COVID-19.
“A likely vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of COVID-19, a finding suggesting that randomized trials may be needed to determine if vitamin D affects COVID-19 risk,” the researchers shared their observations.
Vitamin D affects zinc metabolism, which reduces the ability of coronaviruses to replicate. The research team also stated that “higher levels of vitamin D correlate with lower levels of interleukin 6, which is a primary target for controlling the cytokine storm in COVID-19.”
Research has shown that vitamin D may help reduce the spread of the virus, given its ability to influence viral cell replication and speed up the clearance of viral cells.
However, scientists warn that asymptomatic people can transmit the new coronavirus and that “if vitamin D reduces inflammation, it can increase asymptomatic carriage and reduce symptoms, including cough, making it difficult to predict its effect on the spread of the virus.”
Fifty percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, according to a press release, with much higher rates in Hispanics, African Americans and people living in areas where sun exposure is difficult in winter.
Understanding whether treatment for vitamin D deficiency changes the risk of contracting COVID-19 can make a big difference locally, nationally and globally, the researchers say, pointing out that vitamin D is inexpensive, usually very safe to take, and can be widely used.
The Chicago-based research team said there is a need for experimental research to see if vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of contracting coronavirus and reduce the severity of the disease if a person becomes infected. Several clinical trials have begun at the Medical University of Chicago.
The team also discussed the need for further research on proper vitamin D supplementation strategies in most populations.
Meanwhile, in June, UK public health experts concluded that there was no conclusive evidence to support vitamin D supplementation in preventing COVID-19. According to a study by Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, European countries with lower levels of vitamin D have had a large number of victims of the pandemic.
However, the National Institute of Health and Excellence (NICE) said that after examining the results of five studies, there was no evidence to support any benefit from vitamin D in the case of COVID-19. While there are health benefits to this vitamin, there hasn’t been enough evidence to support the use of vitamin D supplements to treat or prevent COVID-19, said Paul Crisp, director of the Institute’s recommendation center.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) reached similar conclusions, saying that the available evidence does not support the recommendation for supplemental vitamin D use for the prevention of acute respiratory tract infections.
But despite the fact that both NICE and SACN still recommended that the British continue to follow the official guidelines, which were updated in April and recommended that people take 10 mcg of vitamin D per day to maintain bone and muscle health amid concerns that people will not enough sunlight during quarantine.