More than 80 percent of Covid-19 patients are deficient in Vitamin D, the ‘sunshine’ vitamin—and doctors believe the nutrient could protect people from the virus.
The vitamin is vital for a healthy immune system, and bolsters its response to infections, which could include the Covid-19 virus.
A deficiency seems to be a common factor in Covid sufferers. When doctors in Spain examined 216 Covid patients, they discovered that 82 percent of them were vitamin D deficient. They were also more likely to suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension) and cardiovascular disease, and they had higher levels of inflammatory markers, such as ferritin, in their blood, another indication that the immune system wasn’t working properly.
They also tested blood levels of the vitamin in 197 healthy volunteers, and just 47 percent of those were deficient.
High-risk people—nursing home residents, the elderly and those with an existing health problem—should be increasing their vitamin D levels, either by taking supplements or eating foods rich in the vitamin, such as oily fish, red meat and eggs yolks, said Jose Hernandez at the University of Cantabria in Santander.
One strategy to combat the spread of the virus could be to test vitamin D levels in those at risk, and start giving them supplements if they have a low reading.
(Source: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2020; doi: https://doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgaa733)