COVID-19 has brought the global community to its knees. Various medical protocols have emerged to bring the scourge of the virus to an end. Can Vitamin D help?
The healthcare systems of many countries cannot efficiently handle the palliative that COVID-19 patients require, combined with the extensive testing of the population for the virus in a short time.
There is an urgent need to both curb its spread and find a lasting treatment to the endemic. To this effect, researchers have been conducting studies to evaluate the clinical outcome of managing COVID-19 patients with Vitamin D. Results from these studies have demonstrated a potential need to administer Vitamin D to patients with the virus.
According to Trovas and Tournis in a journal article “Vitamin D and COVID 19”, they highlighted information from epidemiological studies supporting the assumption that Vitamin D is crucial to the management of patients with COVID-19. Spain and Italy have one of the highest mortality rates stemming from COVID-19, as well as a considerable proportion of their population with Vitamin D deficiency.
Conversely, most Nordic Countries have the lowest rate of COVID-19 related fatalities so far. There is reason to believe that their Vitamin D fortified food has contributed to the minimized impact of the virus in the region.
Reports from the UK Office for National Statistics indicate that dark-skinned people in England and Wales are four times more likely to die from complications of COVID-19 compared to Caucasians and Asians. Similarly, people of African origin are much more likely to suffer from a Vitamin D deficiency. The report, therefore, suggests that there is a possible correlation between mortality and severity amongst Vitamin D deficient COVID-19 patients.
In a feature report published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal, researchers conducted findings into the role of Vitamin D in managing patients with acute respiratory conditions in the 1930s. The researchers at the time were investigating cod liver oil as a solution to employees’ absenteeism as a result of the common cold.
The report also indicates that hospital-based trials on patients have suffered drawbacks as it has proven difficult for clinical researchers to evaluate the extent of Vitamin D supplementation in various stages of a patient’s health.
Two reasons have been identified as the source of these shortcomings. One of which is patients showing up at the hospital at the hyper inflammatory phase of the disease. At this point, it is more difficult for a COVID-19 patient to benefit from the antiviral effect induced by Vitamin D supplementation.
Another rationale is that it would be hard to note the effect of a micro-nutrient such as Vitamin D over dexamethasone, which has anti-inflammatory properties and is widely used in the treatment of several diseases.
The authors of this report also suggested that a population-based trial is the best hope for yielding any real clinical benefit. These clinical trials would study the reduction of COVID-19 severity following the administration of prophylactic Vitamin D supplementation to the extent that it is either asymptomatic or does not require hospitalization.
The risk factors associated with COVID-19 and Vitamin D deficiency are too similar to ignore. These factors, including obesity, ethnicity, and old age, have led to the postulation that administering Vitamin D supplements may indeed have a preventive or therapeutic effect on these patients.
The overlap between COVID-19 and Vitamin D deficiency might seem to demonstrate that the viral disease could be greatly supported with Vitamin D. However, studies conducted so far haven’t been able to prove this assumption beyond doubt. The global science community needs more time to study the potential and surely. Humanity, needs more time. Surely, this pandemic will help place more important research on Vitamin D.
Adhering to strict social distancing measures and personal hygiene currently remain the most effective way of preventing the virus. While clinical studies have not yet demonstrated the real efficacy of Vitamin D in the treatment of COVID-19, there seems to be enough correlation to suggest that it may well reduce the severity of the virus in affected patients.