Having higher levels of ‘the sunshine vitamin’ was shown to reduce the risk of infection in the black population, a new study revealed.
Nearly half of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, according to David O. Meltzer, MD, PhD, chief of hospital medicine at the Chicago Medical University. But more than three-quarters of people with darker skin have low levels of this crucial nutrient.
He was inspired to examine the data on Covid-19 cases, after viewing an article more than a year ago that reported that people who took vitamin D supplements had much lower rates of viral respiratory infections.
The study looked at more than 3,000 patients in the city who had been tested for vitamin D in the two weeks after a Covid-19 test.
Levels of at least 30 ng / ml (nanograms per milliliter) are generally considered “sufficient,” but black participants with that level of vitamin D had a two and a half times greater risk of contracting Covid than those who had 40 ng / ml or more.
They had a 7.2 percent chance of testing positive for the virus, 2.64 times more than the general population.
Vitamin D can be obtained by eating egg yolks, salmon, or meat or by taking supplements, but it is also produced naturally by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight.
People with darker skin are often deficient because having more melanin in the skin reduces its ability to synthesize vitamin D from the sun.
Findings published in JAMA open network build on a previous trial suggesting that less than 20 ng / ml of vitamin D increases the risk of Covid.
Other recent study showed more than eight out of ten coronavirus patients were deficient in vitamin D.
“This supports the case for designing clinical trials that can test whether vitamin D may be a viable intervention to reduce the risk of the disease, especially in people of color,” said Dr. Meltzer, lead author of the study.
Supplements they are relatively safe to take, and currently the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D for adults is 600 to 800 IU per day (15 to 20 micrograms). Britain’s NHS recommends taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D every day in winter, the equivalent of a salmon fillet, to keep bones and muscles healthy.
But they have updated their advice as the lockdowns are driving the British inland.
“The National Academy of Medicine has said that taking up to 4,000 IU per day is safe for the vast majority of people,” Meltzer adds.
One of the challenges of the current study is that it is difficult to determine exactly how vitamin D may be supporting immune function.
Dr. Meltzer said: “This is an observational study. We can see that there is an association between vitamin D levels and the probability of a Covid-19 diagnosis.
“But we don’t know exactly why, or if these results are due to vitamin D directly or to other related biological factors.”
Driven by the new evidence, researchers are now conducting two studies to find out whether taking a daily supplement can help prevent Covid-19 or lessen the severity of your symptoms, and British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has reversed his previous beliefs and asked Public Health England to “re-review the existing evidence on the link between Covid -19 and vitamin D “.
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