Vitamin D has long been known for its benefit to the health of our bones and teeth. It is also tremendously important for healthy immune function. Optimal vitamin D levels are needed for the body to effectively modulate the immune response and keep the immune system from going into overdrive. One of the most severe complications of COVID-19 is the development of acute respiratory distress syndrome caused by an inflammatory cytokine storm. Cytokine storm is a hyperinflammatory response and is responsible for the majority of COVID-19 deaths. Research from around the world is increasingly demonstrating a significant link between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of serious complications from COVID-19.
After looking at data from 10 different countries, researchers from Northwestern University found a startlingly strong correlation between vitamin D deficiency and death rate from COVID-19. They found that patients from countries with the highest death rates from the virus, like Italy and Spain, had lower vitamin D levels than patients in countries that fared better against COVID-19. These lower vitamin D levels were not able to modulate the immune system properly and increased the risk of developing a cytokine storm in response to the viral infection. (1)
Researchers in Indonesia and the Philippines found similar results of a significant relationship between vitamin D deficiency and a drastic increase in the risk of death associated with COVID-19. The Indonesian researchers found that the majority of COVID-19 cases that also suffered from vitamin D deficiency resulted in death. After accounting for the differences in age, sex, and the presence of other health conditions, vitamin D levels were one of the factors most strongly related to risk of death from COVID-19. Likewise, researchers in the Philippines found that normal vitamin D levels were more likely to be found in those with only mild cases of COVID-19. (2)
In light of the growing evidence that vitamin D levels play a significant role in the severity of COVID-19 infections, Irish researchers from Trinity College Dublin have called on their government to increase recommendations for vitamin D supplementation. While warm, sunny nations that would be expected to have high levels of vitamin D surprisingly have low levels of this important vitamin and are some of the hardest hit by COVID-19, countries in northern climates who are at greatest risk of vitamin D deficiency have strong recommendations in place for supplementation and food fortification and are dealing with much more mild effects of COVID-19. (3)
Vitamin D deficiency is a widespread problem in America. According to a 2011 study, 41% of adults in the US are deficient. This number goes up to 69.2% in Hispanics and 82.1% in African-Americans. Vitamin D is crucial for so many important functions in the body, including your best defence against pathogens, including COVID-19. Research supports the use of vitamin D supplementation for the maintenance of good health in general, and now as an effective means of protecting against the risk of severe complications of COVID-19 infection. There are many supplement options out there. I use the D3/K2 Patch from PatchMD because I love the convenience of putting a patch on in the morning and not having to swallow pills. Plus they are half the price of my old d3 supplement (that didn’t have k2 which has great synergy). Don’t leave yourself at unnecessary risk of COVID-19 complications and speak to a trusted care provider about vitamin D supplementation today. (4)