low levels of vitamin D are associated with increased risk of infection, hospitalization and death from COVID-19

Several studies suggest the possibility that COVID spreads primarily among a vitamin D deficient community. If that’s true, keeping your vitamin D levels high enough could be a key to not getting COVID. A new study lends even more support to that possibility.

Earlier this year, a group of over 200 health scientists and medical experts published an open letter that said that evidence “suggests the possibility that the COVID-19 pandemic sustains itself in large part through infection of those with low vitamin D.”

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that looked at 489 people found that the ones with vitamin D deficiency were a significant 77% more likely to get COVID-19. The researchers, like the authors of the open letter, said their results support the use of vitamin D to prevent COVID (JAMA Netw Open 2020;3(9):e2019722). No one listened.

A later study looked at people with severe COVID: they were all hospitalized with severe acute respiratory syndrome. “A remarkably high” 59% of them were vitamin D deficient. The optimal level of vitamin D is 50-80 ng/ml. When people in this study had levels of vitamin D below 25 ng/ml, which indicates a vitamin D deficiency, 85% of them died. When blood levels reached just 34ng/ml, nobody died (Am J Clin Pathol 2021;15(3):381-8).

Several other studies show a relationship between low levels of vitamin D and increased risk of infection (PLoS One 2020 Sep 17;15(9):e0239252), severe illness and death. One study found that 82% of patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome were deficient in vitamin D. After 10 days of hospitalization, people with severe vitamin D deficiency had a 50% chance of dying compared to 5% in people with higher levels of vitamin D. Another study found that 93.1% of patients with severe to critical COVID had insufficient levels of vitamin D. Low levels of vitamin D were again a predictor of dying from COVID (J Nutr Health Aging 2021 ;25(2):189-196).

Now a new study adds even more support to the possibility that COVID spreads largely among people who are low in vitamin D. The study looked at people who were hospitalized with COVID. They found that 29.3% of COVID patients were vitamin D insufficient and 44.4% were vitamin D deficient. That means that 73.7% of people hospitalized with COVID were low in vitamin D. Patients who were lower in vitamin D were also more likely to require invasive mechanical ventilation (BMJ Open. 2021 10 22 ;11(10):e055435).

Though no one wants to say it, the research seems to say it: the COVID key may be vitamin D.

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