Published: 16th September 2021
Study says that Vitamin D may prevent severe COVID-19 symptoms
Ambient UVB radiation at an individual's place of residence preceding COVID-19 infection was found to be strongly and inversely associated with hospitalisation and death
A good amount of Vitamin D in the body before COVID-19 infection can prevent severe disease and death, according to an international study. A team from Trinity College in Ireland, University of Edinburgh in Scotland and Zhejiang University in China for the first time looked at both genetically-predicted and vitamin D levels as predicted by ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation, key for vitamin D production in the skin.
When comparing the two variables, researchers found that correlation with measured vitamin D concentration in the circulation was three-fold stronger for UVB-predicted vitamin D level, compared to genetically-predicted. The paper, published in the journal Scientific Reports, suggests that vitamin D may protect against severe COVID-19 disease and death. "Our study supports the recommendation of vitamin D supplementation for not only the maintenance of bone and muscle health during the lockdown, but also the potential benefits in relation to protection from COVID-19," said Dr Xue Li, a researcher on the study from Zhejiang. "Conducting a properly designed COVID-19 randomised controlled trial of vitamin D supplementation is critical. Until then, given that vitamin D supplements are safe and cheap, it is definitely advisable to take supplements and protect against vitamin D deficiency," added Professor Lina Zgaga, Associate Professor in epidemiology, at Trinity's School of Medicine
Further, ambient UVB radiation at an individual's place of residence preceding COVID-19 infection was found to be strongly and inversely associated with hospitalisation and death. Previous studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with an increased susceptibility to viral and bacterial respiratory infections. Similarly, several observational studies found a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19. A study by researchers from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University in Safed and the Galilee Medical Center (GMC) in Nahariya, Israel, showed that people with low vitamin D levels are at least 20 per cent more likely to die from COVID-19 than people who are not. They found that being deficient in vitamin D before contracting COVID-19 has a direct impact on the disease's severity and mortality.