A preliminary, unpublished study speculates that vitamin D deficiency may have something to do with poor COVID-19 outcomes. Its authors suggest people may benefit from ensuring they are getting enough vitamin D. However, there are serious concerns about the research.
In their study, the researchers first identified the mean levels of vitamin D for the inhabitants of 20 European countries.
They then looked at whether they could find any associations between these and data around the number of COVID-19 cases in each country, as well as the number of COVID-19 deaths.
The research team reports that, according to their observations, “the mean level of vitamin D in each country was strongly associated” both with a higher number of COVID-19 cases and with higher mortality due to the disease.
The investigators claim that countries such as Spain and Italy, which have among the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in Europe, demonstrate low mean levels of vitamin D in blood in their populations.
Based on this association, the researchers hypothesize that vitamin D may help protect against contracting SARS-CoV-2 or experiencing severe outcomes after developing COVID-19.
In their online paper, they write: “In conclusion, we found significant relationships between vitamin D levels and the number COVID–19 cases and especially the mortality caused by this infection. The most vulnerable group of population for COVID–19 is also the one that has the most deficit in Vitamin D.”
The authors of the current research note, themselves, that their study faced limitations, including the fact they had no clear way of verifying the true number of COVID-19 cases in each of the countries.
So, while it may be tempting to turn to an easily obtainable dietary supplement to help us keep SARS-CoV-2 at bay, it may be safer to hold off on the enthusiasm for now.
Medical reference: medicalnewstoday