Adequate vitamin D levels may reduce the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19, according to a new UK study. For the first time, the authors took into account the level of sunlight in the place where the volunteers participating in the study were located. Scientists recommend protection against deficiency of this vitamin, especially in the fall and winter.
The authors of a new study published in Scientific Reports explain that previous studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency increases the susceptibility to viral and bacterial respiratory infections. Observational studies have already suggested a link between low levels of this vitamin and COVID-19, but in this case other factors related to vitamin D levels, such as late age, obesity, and other diseases, could also work.
To deal with this uncertainty, researchers at Trinity College Dublin in Ireland and the University of Edinburgh in the UK used the analysis of genes that influence vitamin D levels and the amount of UV light that volunteers were exposed to.
Several teams have already tried the gene-based approach but found no correlation. According to the authors of the new study – most likely because the sun exposure, which strongly influences the level of the vitamin, has not been taken into account.
Vitamin D and COVID-19. New study results
Meanwhile, a new, more accurate approach with half a million UK-based volunteers has shown that, with exposure to sunlight, the association with the vitamin is three times stronger than without UV rays. The more of these rays in the volunteers’ location, the lower the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19. At the same time, the correlation with genes turned out to be relatively weak.
Although this type of analysis did not allow for a clear determination of the causes and effects, the results indicate that the level of vitamin D may significantly affect the risk of complications in SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Authors: Another evidence that vitamin D may protect against severe disease
– Our study provides further evidence that vitamin D may protect against severe COVID-19. Properly designed, randomized and controlled trials with vitamin D supplementation will be crucial here. Until then, with the low price and safety of vitamin D supplements, you can certainly be advised to take the right supplements and protect yourself from vitamin D deficiency, especially as winter is approaching, said Professor Lina Zgaga of Trinity College Dublin.
This substance is important for many body functions, including helping to keep bones and muscles in good condition, the researchers note.
– In the absence of effective treatments against COVID-19, we believe it is important to be open to the emerging results of rigorous research on vitamin D – added Prof. Evropi Theodoratou from the University of Edinburgh.
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