I've recently read two ground breaking reports on a *possible link between vitamin D deficiency and COVID 19. The reports suggest that those with low levels of vitamin D are more at risk of contracting COVID 19 and when they do contract it they are at further risk of serious complications.
Please first read the below 2 NOTES!
NOTE 1 - THERE IS NO UNEQUIVECAL SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE SHOWING A CLEAR CUT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VITAMIN D LEVELS AND COVID 19 AS THE STUDIES ARE STILL IN THEIR INFANCY AND OBSERVATIONAL BASED. THAT SAID SEVERAL OBSERVATIONAL (NOT AS GOOD AS DOUBLE BLIND PLACEBO STUDIES) HAVE HINTED AT A LINK AND THE RISKS OF TOXICITY OR OVERDOSE WITH VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTATION FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION ARE VERY SMALL. THUS REWARD V's RISK IS VERY HIGH (IN MY OPINION A MUCH HIGHER REWARD RATIO THAN WEARING A MASK IN PUBLIC).
NOTE 2 - A VERY SMALL AMOUNT OF THE POPULATION (E.G. THOSE WITH RENAL/KIDNEY ISSUES AND THOSE WITH SARCOID/SARCOIDOSIS SHOULD SPEAK WITH THERE GP BEFORE TAKING VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTS AS IT MAY CAUSE SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS IN THESE GROUPS!
The first report is an open letter to the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson signed by 130 experts urging the UK government to make Vitamin D part of the UK Coronavirus strategy:
Here are some very interesting quotes for you to read from this article:
- "...While evidence of the supplement’s effectiveness may be up in the air, experts from Oxford to Princeton have signed an open letter to global governments arguing vitamin D could ward off coronavirus infections, disease and even deaths...The letter is being sent to Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock on 21 December, calling for healthy adults to up their daily vitamin D intake to at least 2,000 international units (IU), or 50 micrograms (mcg), amid the pandemic..."
- “Finland is the only country with an effective vitamin D food fortification programme and has had one of the best pandemic responses globally, with only 484 deaths and 22,500 recoveries...Japan is an interesting case they eat so much raw fish, one of the few natural sources of vitamin D in food, that their diet is rich enough to be sufficient over winter...Japan had 188,000 cases, yet under 3,000 deaths..."
- "...More than 70 coronavirus studies have reportedly linked higher vitamin D levels to lower rates of infection, hospitalisation, intensive care admission and even death...Nevertheless, Nice – which collaborated with Public Health England and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition – argued it was “not possible to determine a direct relationship between vitamin D and COVID-19 based on the available evidence”...While the jury may be out, the letter’s signatories argue vitamin D is “exceptionally safe”...Vitamin D’s established safety – even at high doses – means there is “no need to wait for clinical evidence”, argued the signatories, who urged people take the supplement ahead of a national vaccine rollout..."
- "...recommend adults whose vitamin D levels are unknown take 4,000 IUs of the supplement every day, arguing this is “widely regarded as safe”, or at least 2,000 IUs...Adults who have not been taking the above doses should “get 10,000 IUs daily for two to three weeks, followed by the daily amount above”, the letter states...This practice is widely regarded as safe..."
- "...Many factors are known to predispose individuals to higher risk from exposure to , such as age, being male, co-morbidities, but inadequate vitamin D is by far the most easily and quickly modifiable risk factor with abundant evidence to support a large effect..."
The next study I read comes from this YouTube video
. My Take-away points from this video (in case you don't have an hour to watch it) are as follows:
- Vitamin D (which is actually hormone) cannot be created within our body (like Vitamin C) - so we need to get it from either sunlight via our skin (best source) or dietary sources like egg yolks, red meat, liver, and oily fish (mackerel, sardines, salmon, herring) or via supplementation (liposomal is best).
- Factors that reduce our skins ability to absorb vitamin D from the sun are age (as we get older we are less efficient), and those with darker skin do not receive as much (this might explain in part the higher prevalence of COVID in BAME?). Additionally if you are overweight or obese your body does not have as much free vitamin D available as it gets locked up in your fat cells.
- If you live below or above the 35th parallel e.g. in Northern Europe (UK, Ireland, Nordic countries etc), and the majority of states in the US - it is almost impossible to get enough vitamin D from sunshine in winter and the cooler months. This is why most Nordic countries supplement milk, dairy and other staple foods with Vitamin D and it is posited that e.g. Finland had very low COVID cases per head of population.
- There are several studies showing a link between low Vitamin D levels and increased risks of contracting COVID plus having further complications if you do contract it. As noted above - most of these studies have been mostly observational (no very large randomized controlled studies to date), and as such have yet to display a clear cut (and unequivocal) link. This is why NICE in the UK is not jumping on the Vitamin D bandwagon!
- There seems to be a very strong correlation between the resultant symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency and COVID 19 across 6 important markers (Increased: IL-6, TNFa, IFNy, TH1 Adaptive Response, and Coaguability, plus decreased ACE2 expression). Is this a coincidence?
- Vitamin D overdose/toxicity is extremely rare (even at very high doses). The YouTube presenter argues that the potential Reward (in terms of lower COVID cases and deaths) versus Risk (of people overdosing, dying, or falling ill) of everybody increasing their vitamin D levels via supplementation is very high. There are a very small number of people in the general population who should discuss this with their doctor first (e.g. those with renal/kidney issues and those with Sarcoid/Sarcoidosis or similar).
- The vast majority of adults should start supplementing at doses above 2000IU / 50 Micrograms. The author of the presentation said he was supplementing for a long period at 2000IU and still was considered deficient in Vitamin D i.e. 48 ng/ml where the minimum accepted level is 50 ng / ml. He is now taking 5000IU or 125 Micrograms and says that this has ensured he has sufficient levels of Vitamin D in his blood.
PLEASE FORWARD THIS BLOG TO A LOVED ONE. THE RISK AND COST OF INCREASING VITAMIN D IS VERY SMALL VERSUS THE POTENTIAL INCREASED RISK OF CATCHING COVID & HAVING COMPLICATIONS OR DYING!