Does vitamin D protect against the coronavirus?
To date, whether vitamin D can protect against disease with COVID-19 has been controversial. The following article summarizes the previous findings on the protective effect 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 vitamin D is usually formed mainly by sun rays on the skin and deficiency can easily occur due to a lack of sunlight in the winter. Additionally, unfortunately the so-called vitamin D synthesis capacity decreases with age, favoring vitamin D deficiency in older people.
Get vitamin D through your diet
In addition to 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 special foods that have u supplement with vitamin D. These include, for example, margarine, mushrooms and chanterelles. However, only a small percentage of the daily vitamin D requirement is covered by food.
Free distribution of vitamin D supplements?
In England, health authorities plan to distribute free vitamin D supplements to more than 2.5 million vulnerable people this winter. These are mostly people in old people’s homes. This year it is more important than ever for people to take vitamin D because most people spend less time outdoors. Therefore, the government has decided to give vitamin D to the clinically vulnerable people, explains Dr. Alison Tedstone of Public Health England told the BBC news channel.
Vitamin D protects muscles and bones
Vitamin D is particularly important for bones and muscles, but also has a preventative effect against respiratory infections. If there is a deficiency, it may make sense to take vitamin D. supplements. In this context, however, the Robert Koch Foundation (RKI) warns against overdose. This could, for example, lead to nausea and even serious kidney, heart and circulatory problems.
COVID-19: Sick people often lack vitamin D.
As early as April 2020, a study showed that people suffering from COVID-19 often have vitamin D deficiency. Another study involving the University of Cantabria in Santander found that 82.2 per cent of people with COVID-19 suffer from vitamin D deficiency. In the control group with people without disease caused by the coronavirus, however, only 47.2 per cent had value.
Possible reasons for higher risk
The researchers said people with vitamin D deficiency had a high incidence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. In addition, the affected individuals would have increased serum ferritin and troponin levels and a longer hospital stay than individuals with 25OHD levels ≥20 ng / mL.
However, the researchers from the University of Cantabria also noted that they had found no association between vitamin D concentrations or vitamin deficiency and the severity of the disease.
Influence of vitamin D on respiratory infections?
Vitamin D is known to be beneficial for the bones, so it is often prescribed for the prevention of osteopenia, a precursor of osteoporosis. Studies, conducted on children only in Asia, showed that vitamin D can also modulate some immune functions in respiratory infections.
This may suggest a link between vitamin D and COVID-19. However, experts believe it is premature to say that vitamin D protects against COVID-19. At this time, some research groups around the world have found that people with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to have COVID-19 illness. However, this is not conclusive evidence of a causal relationship.
Results of further investigations
Another study found that, on average, children with COVID-19 had lower vitamin D levels than a control group of healthy children. However, no children with chronic illness participated in the study. Nevertheless, the results suggest that vitamin D levels may be linked to the occurrence of COVID-19.
Severe COVID-19 illness favored by vitamin D deficiency?
Researchers at the University of Hohenheim in Germany have analyzed the results of 30 studies that dealt with COVID-19 and vitamin D. The risk of a serious course of COVID-19 disease with lower vitamin D levels was found to be higher than for people with vitamin D levels normal.
However, the researchers point out that a pre-existing vitamin D deficiency is often linked to various other pre-existing conditions, which in turn may influence the risk of COVID-19 . (as)
Author and source information
This topic complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been verified by medical professionals.
- BBC: Covid: Free Vitamin D Pills for 2.5million Vulnerable in England (veröffentlicht 30.11.2020), BBC
- Robert Koch Foundation: Answers from the Robert Koch Foundation to frequently asked questions about vitamin D (accessed January 25, 2019), RKI
- Ali Daneshkhah, Vasundhara Agrawal, Adam Eshein, Hariharan Subramanian, Hemant K. Roy, Vadim Backman: Potential Role of Vitamin D in Preventing Cytokine Depression 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 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 co-morbidity in COVID-19 patients – A fatal relationship?, In NFS Journal (Volume veröffentlicht 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 substitute a visit to the doctor.