We are learning more every day about the virus that has turned our lives upside down. That optimal levels of vitamin D are crucial for the healthy immune function is nothing new, but now this knowledge is being applied to COVID-19 research and the results are fascinating. Vitamin D deficiency is a widespread concern. According to a 2011 study, 41.6% of adults in the US are deficient. This number goes up to 69.2% in Hispanics and 82.1% in African-Americans. If proven effective at reducing complications from COVID-19, vitamin D supplementation could prove to be an affordable and readily available tool to combat the effects of this pandemic. (1)
In one study from Northwestern University, researchers analyzed data from 10 countries around the world and found a strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 death rates. Countries with high COVID-19 death rates, such as Spain and Italy, had lower levels of vitamin D than countries that experienced more mild effects of the virus. Cytokine storm, a hyperinflammatory response, is believed to be responsible for the majority of deaths from COVID-19. A response that is modulated by optimal levels of vitamin D. (2)
Another study from Indonesia looked at mortality patterns among patients with COVID-19 and a possible association with serum vitamin D levels. They found that the majority of COVID-19 cases with vitamin D deficiencies were fatal. After adjusting for differences in age, sex, and pre-existing health conditions, there was a strong relationship between vitamin D levels and the risk of death from COVID-19. A report from Davao Doctors College in the Philippines backs this up by finding that normal vitamin D levels were more commonly found in those with mild cases of COVID-19. (3)
On the heels of these studies, researchers at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland are calling on government authorities to adjust recommendations for vitamin D supplementation. Despite associating warm, sunny countries with higher levels of vitamin D, they have been shown to have relatively high rates of vitamin D deficiency. Conversely, northern climates with less sunlight have lower rates of vitamin D deficiency and lower COVID-19 death rates. The biggest difference? These northern countries encourage greater supplementation and food fortification with vitamin D. (4)
Vitamin D supplementation is a cheap and effective way to safely increase low vitamin D levels and protect against vitamin D deficiency and the health risks that come with it. Optimal vitamin D levels are necessary for healthy immune function, in particular, to protect against immune hyperactivity and cytokine storms. The research linking vitamin D deficiency to greatly increased risk of severe complications of COVID-19 is growing at a staggering rate. While more study is needed, it is safe to say that optimal vitamin D levels are good for your health and there is strong science to support its ability to help reduce the risk of serious complications from COVID-19. I use the D3/K2 Patch from PatchMD because I love the convenience of a patch and not having to swallow pills. Plus, they are half the price of my bariatric vitamins.