Does vitamin D protect against coronavirus?
Whether vitamin D can protect against COVID-19 has been controversial. The following article summarizes previous findings on the protective effect of vitamin D in relation to coronavirus.
Vitamin D deficiency is very common
Especially in winter, many people suffer from vitamin D deficiency, because vitamin D is usually formed mainly by the sun’s rays on the skin, and lack of light can easily occur due to lack of sunlight in winter. In addition, the skin’s ability to synthesize so-called vitamin D decreases with age, which favors vitamin D deficiency in the elderly.
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 fortified with vitamin D. These include margarine, mushrooms, and foxes. However, only a small percentage of the daily requirement of vitamin D is covered by food.
Free distribution of vitamin D supplements?
In England, health authorities plan to distribute vitamin D supplements free of charge this winter to more than 2.5 million vulnerable people. These are mainly people in retirement homes. This year, it is more important for people than ever to take vitamin D, because most people spend less time outdoors. The government has therefore decided to give vitamin D to clinically extremely vulnerable people, explains Dr. Alison Tedstone of Public Health England told the BBC.
Vitamin D protects muscles and bones
Vitamin D is especially important for bones and muscles, but it also has a preventive 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 Institute (RKI) warns against overdose. For example, this could lead to nausea and even serious problems with the kidneys, heart and circulation.
COVID-19: Sick people often suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
As early as April 2020, a study showed that people with COVID-19 often had vitamin D deficiency. Another study involving the University of Cantabria in Santander found that 82.2 percent of people with COVID-19 were deficient in vitamin D. In a control group with people however, without coronavirus disease, the value was only 47.2 percent.
Possible reasons for the increased risk
The researchers said that people with vitamin D deficiency have a higher prevalence of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In addition, affected individuals should have elevated serum ferritin and troponin levels and a longer hospital stay than individuals with 25OHD levels ≥ 20 ng / ml.
However, researchers from the University of Cantabria also said they found no link between vitamin D levels or vitamin deficiency and disease severity.
The effect of vitamin D on respiratory infections?
Vitamin D is known to be beneficial to bones, so it is often prescribed to prevent osteopenia, the precursor of osteoporosis. Studies conducted exclusively on children in Asia have shown that vitamin D can also modulate certain immune functions in respiratory infections.
This could indicate a link between vitamin D and COVID-19. However, experts believe that it is premature to claim 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. However, this is not convincing evidence of a causal relationship.
Results of further investigations
Another study found that children with COVID-19 had, on average, lower levels of vitamin D than controls in healthy children. However, no chronically ill children participated in the study. However, the results suggest that vitamin D levels may be related to the occurrence of COVID-19.
A serious COVID-19 disease favored by vitamin D deficiency?
Researchers at the German University of Hohenheim analyzed the results of 30 studies of COVID-19 and vitamin D. The risk of severe COVID-19 disease with lower vitamin D levels was found to be higher than in people with normal vitamin D levels.
However, researchers point out that existing vitamin D deficiency is often associated with various other pre-existing diseases, which may affect the risk of COVID-19. (as)
Author and resource information
This text complies with the requirements of the medical literature, medical instructions and current studies and has been reviewed by healthcare professionals.
- BBC: Covid: Free vitamin D tablets for 2.5 million vulnerable people in England (veröffentlicht 30.11.2020), BBC
- Robert Koch Institute: Answers from the Robert Koch Institute to Frequently Asked Questions About Vitamin D (as of January 25, 2019), RKI
- Ali Daneshkhah, Vasundhara Agrawal, Adam Eshein, Hariharan Subramanian, Hemant K. Roy, Vadim Backman: The possible role of vitamin D in suppressing cytokine storms and related mortality in patients with COVID-19, 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 the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (published October 27, 2010) .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 comorbidity in patients with COVID-19 – a fatal relationship ?, in NFS Journal (veröffentlicht volume 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-medication. It cannot replace a visit to the doctor.