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Coronavirus: Can Vitamin D reduce complications among ageing patients?


Vitamin D appears to help reduce serious complications among coronavirus patients, according to a study.

“Whereas there are currently no results from randomised controlled trials to conclusively prove that vitamin D beneficially affects Covid-19 outcomes, there is strong circumstantial evidence of associations between vitamin D and the severity of Covid-19 responses, including death,” said Professor Kenny of Trinity College.

“Vitamin D deficiency is most prevalent with age, obesity, in men, in ethnic minorities, in people with diabetes, hypertension and in nursing homes.”

“Vitamin D deficiency is most prevalent with age, obesity, in men, in ethnic minorities, in people with diabetes, hypertension, and in nursing homes.”

Researchers from Trinity College Dublin, the University of Liverpool, and the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) studied the correlation between vitamin D levels and coronavirus mortality rates.

Dr. Eamon Laird and Professor Rose Anne Kenny, who co-authored the paper, discovered vitamin D can help support the immune system through a number of pathways involved in fighting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

Can Vitamin D reduce complications among ageing patients?

After studying more than 20 years’ worth of European data on vitamin D, and comparing it with current numbers on Covid-19, the researchers showed that the highest infection and death toll had been recorded among those populations with low vitamin D concentrations.

These include the likes of Spain and Italy which, despite their lower latitude positions and heightened exposure to sunlight, both suffer from high rates of vitamin D deficiency.

The northern latitude countries of Norway, Finland, and Denmark, which have recorded comparatively lower Covid-19 infection and death rates, have higher vitamin D levels despite less sunlight exposure because supplementation and fortification of foods are more common.

The association between low vitamin D levels and death from Covid-19 is “statistically significant”, said the authors of the report, who also urged recommendations for supplements.

Co-author Dr Laird added: “Here we see observational evidence of a link of vitamin D with mortality.

“Optimising vitamin D intake to public health guidelines will certainly have benefits for overall health and support immune function.

“Research like this is still exploratory and we need further trials to have concrete evidence on the level of vitamin D that is needed for optimal immune function.”

The Irish study reinforces evidence that means Covid-19 patients with high vitamin D levels are more likely to survive the disease.

Last week, a study from Northwestern University within the US found that patients with severe deficiency are twice as likely to experience major complications.

The researchers also found a powerful correlation between low vitamin D levels and also the cytokine storm response, a hyper-inflammatory condition caused by an overactive system, seen among some coronavirus patients.

“Cytokine storm can severely damage lungs and lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in patients,” Ali Daneshkhah, a postdoctoral research associate at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, said last week.

“This is what seems to kill a majority of Covid-19 patients, not the destruction of the lungs by the virus itself. It is the complications from the misdirected fire from the immune system.”

Vitamin D is produced within the skin from UVB sunlight exposure and is transported to the liver then the kidney where it’s become a vigorous hormone that increases calcium transport from food within the gut and ensures calcium is capable keep the skeleton strong.


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