Awareness of vitamin D-deficiency in the UK has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many vitamin D researchers have worked tirelessly over the summer to provide a framework in which vitamin D supplementation could be incorporated into the general strategies being used to defeat COVID-19.
A pilot, randomised, clinical study from Spain presented the first evidence for the use of vitamin D to treat Covid-19.
The results were stunning!
Of the patients who were given the active form of vitamin D upon admission to hospital, only 2% went on to be admitted to intensive care. None of the vitamin D patients died – and all were discharged without complications.
However, of the patients who were NOT given vitamin D, 50% needed to be admitted to intensive care – and two of those patients died!
This study was done with people who were already ill enough to need to be admitted to hospital. The implications for the use of vitamin D for prevention are obvious.
The elderly are known to be at greater risk of serious complication and death from Covid-19. It is also the case that older adults are at increased risk of poor vitamin D status due to the lack of sun exposure and to an age-related decline in the efficiency of vitamin D synthesis and metabolism.
Recent evidence suggests that low vitamin D concentrations are associated with increased levels of inflammatory markers. The study contributes significantly to the body of evidence supporting a potential anti-inflammatory role for vitamin D in older individuals from the general population.
Less vitamin D from sunshine
We are hearing a lot about the fact that black and Asian people are accounting for a disproportionate number of critical complications and deaths with Covid-19. A number of reasons for that are being put forward – such as poverty and over-crowding.
Strangely – one cause seems to be being overlooked. The darker your skin colour, the less vitamin D you absorb from sunshine. Vitamin D is absolutely critical for immunity. The deficiency can seriously impair your ability to deal with infection.
An urgent alert has been issued to GPs after several children presented with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease – a potentially fatal syndrome that affects blood vessels – including a high temperature, low blood pressure, a rash and difficulty breathing.
Kawasaki has long been associated with vitamin D deficiency. This quote from a 2016 scientific paper:- “recent studies have shown that vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency is associated with Kawasaki disease. Vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency may affect Kawasaki disease via its influence on inflammatory response, adipokine, endothelial function, platelet function, and DNA methylation and increase the risk of coronary artery lesions. The article reviews the research advances in the association between vitamin D and Kawasaki disease and possible mechanisms of action.”
BMJ Journal Volume 74, Issue Supplement 2: “Kawasaki disease is an acute febrile systemic vasculitisin childhood that is associated with inflammatory cytokines, in which the vascular inflammation results in damage to the coronary arteries. Vitamin D plays an important role in the regulation of immunity, and several studies demonstrate that its active form 25(OH)VIT exhibits anti-inflammatory activities and modulate the inflammatory response in the systemic vasculitis.”
Professor Rosalind Smyth, a consultant in paediatric respiratory medicine at Great Ormond Street Hospital said, “our understanding of this condition in children is limited. We should investigate fully these children who present with a multi-system inflammatory disease to assess whether this is a presentation of Covid-19.
Kawasaki has long been associated with vitamin D deficiency! Yet there is no mention of vitamin D deficiency’s role in inflammatory conditions in relation to the children presenting with Kawasaki-like symptoms!
Because of warnings about skin cancer, children are usually covered with sun cream when they go out it the sun – so they don’t get any vitamin D from sunbathing! Vitamin D is needed to fight infection in the first place and – where there is already a borderline deficiency – fighting the infection will seriously exacerbate that deficiency. That worsening deficiency can lead to inflammation
During the winter, of course, the sun isn’t strong enough anyway to produce vitamin D in the skin – even without sun cream – so vitamin D deficiency is widespread among the population – except where people are taking a vitamin D supplement
Just to underscore:
Inflammation is the serious complication in Covid.
Vitamin D deficiency can cause inflammation!
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How much vitamin D should you take?
Vitamin D3 + K2
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Read more on the Spanish study here:-