Vitamin D : Deficiency increases Risk of COVID-19
Vitamin D will play in the risk of developing the disease and the severity of COVID-19. A handful of recent studies claim to have found a link between low vitamin D levels and COVID-19 fatality. But can a deficiency of this vitamin increase your risk of death from the virus?
Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, both of which are needed to keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. Very few foods naturally contain the vitamin, but the body can produce it when the skin is directly exposed to the sun.
There might be a link between people who suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency and them getting infected with COVID-19 and mortality rates.
Researchers of Northwestern University conducted this study, and their results have been published in the journal medRxiv.
Vadim Backman, head author of this study and Walter Dill Scott Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering noticed differences in the mortality rates from country to country, and there were some theories that healthcare quality, age, testing rates or the different strains of the virus might be responsible. However, he was not convinced.
Coronavirus Outbreak: An inexplicable link between people with Vitamin D deficiency getting infected with COVID-19
There is a link between people who suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency, getting infected with COVID-19, and higher mortality rates.
Backman has told in a statement that none of these factors appear to play a significant role in the healthcare system in northern Italy is one of the best in the world. Differences in mortality exist even if one looks across the same age group. And, while the restrictions on testing do indeed vary, the disparities in mortality still exist even when we looked at countries or populations for which similar testing rates apply. Instead, we saw a significant correlation with Vitamin D deficiency.
The researchers looked at patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as Italy, Spain, and the UK. They found that infected patients had lower levels of Vitamin D compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected. They also found a strong correlation between Vitamin levels and cytokine storm — a hyperinflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system.
Cytokine storm can hugely damage lungs and cause acute respiratory distress syndrome and even death in extreme conditions in patient. This is what is likely to kill a majority of COVID-19 patients not only the destruction of the lungs by the virus itself. This is the major complications initiated from the misguided fire from the immune system.
Virus Immunity by the Human Body
Humans have basically two types of immune systems in them
- acquired immune system
- innate immune system.
Adaptive immunity or Acquired immunity creates immunological memory after an initial response to a specific pathogen and provides long-lasting protection against it.
Innate immune system, an older evolutionary defense mechanism of the body, and comes into play within hours of the antigens appear in the human body. These mechanisms may include physical barriers like skin, chemicals in the blood, and immune system cells that attack foreign cells in the body. This explains The Biology Project by The University of Arizona.
It also explains why death rates among children concerning COVID-19 are lower. Children do not have acquired immune system, which is the immune system’s second line of defense and more likely to overreact.
Children rely primarily on their innate immune system. It might make us understand why there is lower mortality rate.
Why is Vitamin D so important?
Vitamin D helps to increase immune systems and prevents our immune systems from becoming overactive. Having a healthy Vitamin level could protect patients against severe complications, including death, from COVID-19.
Taking supplements is an excellent way to ensure you are getting your daily dose of Vitamin D. Another approach to getting this is to expose yourself to natural sunlight.
NHS advices that taking too many Vitamin supplements over a long period can cause too much calcium build up in the human body. It can weaken the bones and damage the kidneys and the heart.
Vitamin D deficiency is very much harmful and can be easily coped up with adequate supplementation. It may be a key to help and protect populations, like elderly patients and African-American, who have Vitamin D deficiency.