Boston University research finds Vitamin D reduces COVID-19 risk

20 Sep 2020

A COVID-19 vaccine may be months away, but a new study finds something already on the market appears to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection. 

It is Vitamin D.

Michael F. Holick, MD, PhD, professor of medicine, physiology, and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine, said, 'Vitamin D modulates your immune system.' It enhances your ability, including viral infections, to fight infectious diseases.

The study, which appears in PLOS ONE, compared rates of COVID-19 infection against blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D in over 190,000 patients in the United States. Holick called the results 'remarkable.'

"If you're deficient in vitamin D, you're at a 54 percent higher risk of getting this infection compared to people who were sufficient in vitamin D," he said. "It has been in all 50 states for all ages, for all ethnicities and all latitudes in the USA. So if you're in California, Florida, or Alaska, it's always the same thing.

Exposure to the sun's UV rays causes a skin cell reaction that makes Vitamin D. How then, to explain, are the three states with the highest number of COVID-19 cases among the sunniest: Florida, Texas, and California.

All you get is Vitamin D from the sun at about 10 a.m. Until about 3 p.m.,' said Holick. "And there were many debates about sun exposure because people put sunscreen on that prevents you from making vitamin D.' 

In Florida and California, Holick said that vitamin D insufficiency is probably widespread due to sunscreen use — and the fact that many avoid the midday sun.

You may think that if you're on a healthy diet, you get all the nutrients and vitamin D that you need ... Not real,"' said Holick. "Because the only natural forms of Vitamin D in your diet are oily fish, such as wild-caught salmon, sun-exposed mushrooms, and cod liver oil."

Milk and fortified orange juice can add additional small amounts of vitamin D, but Holick said it is still not enough. 

He said supplementation is a safe and efficient way to maintain Vitamin D levels that are healthy.

Source: Boston 25 News