Back in December of last year, over 200 international health, science and medical experts sent an open letter to world governments stating that there is clear evidence that vitamin D reduces covid-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Even Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease expert, endorses taking vitamin D supplements for immune system health and function.
Giving high-dose Vitamin D to coronavirus patients when they are admitted to hospital could cut deaths by 60 per cent, new research suggests. Scientists from the University of Barcelona showed that patients prescribed calcifediol (vitamin D3) had their risk of admission to intensive care dramatically cut and death rates significantly lowered.
Must Be Used Early
Currently the steroid dexamethasone has shown the greatest impact, reducing deaths by 30 per cent, and is now recommended for seriously ill NHS patients, but the new study suggests calcifediol could be twice as beneficial if given early.
In the study, 10 percent of patients admitted to Barcelona’s Hospital del Mar with coronavirus died within 30 days. However, while 57 out of 379 (15 percent) control patients died, just 36 out of 551 (6.5 per cent) of those treated with calcifediol died.
The researchers found that earlier treatment was better. If given on admission to intensive care, the treatment made no difference.
The authors concluded: “Our results indicate that early calcifediol administration is critical for mortality reduction, since initiation of calcifediol during ICU admission did not modify patient survival. Ultimately these effects are thought to curb the inflammatory cascade that leads to the cytokine and chemokine storm associated with the pathogenesis of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Adequate Vitamin D status could also play a role in preventing Covid-19 infection.”
Scientists hypothesize the reason why black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities are so disproportionately impacted by coronavirus is due to low levels of Vitamin D.
The body naturally produces this vitamin when skin is exposed to sunlight. It plays a crucial role for maintaining healthy bones, strong muscles and a strong immune system. But individuals with darker skins don’t let sunlight penetrate as much, meaning less of the vitamin is produced. The NHS currently recommends that people take Vitamin D supplements in the winter.
Last year, researchers from Anglia Ruskin University published work showing a significant correlation between the number of coronavirus cases compared to average population levels of Vitamin D.
Italy and Spain have both experienced high mortality rates. Scientists also found that both countries have lower than average Vitamin D levels. This is partly because people in southern Europe, especially the elderly, avoid strong sun. In addition, their darker skin pigmentation further reduces their body’s ability to produce natural Vitamin D.
In contrast, the highest average levels of Vitamin D are found in northern Europe, due to high consumption of cod liver oil and Vitamin D supplements, and possibly less sun avoidance.
Vitamin D has been shown to protect against acute respiratory infections. It also regulates the response of white blood cells, preventing them from overealeasing inflammatory cells which may stop the body from harming itself.
While the study is yet to be peer reviewed, adding vitamin D could help bolster the body’s natural immune system. In the meantime, people should still get their vaccine, practice social distancing, wear masks and wash hands accordingly.
Foods Rich in Vitamin D
Between October and early March most of us don’t get enough vitamin D from sunlight. Here is a small number of foods you can add to your diet:
- oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel
- egg yolks
How much vitamin D do I need?
According to NHS, babies up to the age of 1 year need 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day. Children from the age of 1 year and adults need 10 micrograms a day. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, and people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
How to Read Supplement Labels
If you’re thinking of taking vitamin D supplements, here’s what you need to know. A microgram (μg) is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram (mg).
In some countries the amount of vitamin D is expressed as International Units (IU). 1 microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU. So 10 micrograms of vitamin D is equal to 400 IU.