In a race to uncover more about the coronavirus, Israel seems to be leading from the front. A recent study by Israeli scientists suggests that you are at a higher risk of developing COVID-19 if you have low levels of vitamin D. Scientists at the Leumit Health Services (LHS) and Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-IIan University are responsible for carrying out the research. Given that the pandemic has confined people indoors, some doctors and scientists have been underscoring the importance of getting our daily dose of the sunshine vitamin. Let’s take a look at the research to further understand what all the fuss is about; shall we?
What is Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that our bodies require to maintain bone health. It helps our bones to absorb calcium from the food and supplements that we consume. In case you suffer from vitamin D deficiency, then your bones can become brittle and break easily. This condition is known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Vitamin D has several other functions. It helps our muscles to move, nerves to carry messages between our brain and every part of the body and also boosts our immune system.
Research Indicating the Link Between Vitamin D and COVID-19:
Dr. Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern, a leader at Azrieli Faculty of Medicine research group, says, “Nearly 70 percent of the world’s adult population suffers from vitamin D deficiency.” For the purpose of the research, scientists tried to examine 782 COVID-19 positive patients and 7,025 negative patients. The results indicate that patients with low plasma vitamin D levels are at a higher risk for COVID-19 infection and hospitalization.
Head of Leumit’s Department of Managed Care, Dr. Eugene Merzon, says, “The main finding of our study was the significant association of low plasma vitamin D level with the likelihood of COVID-19 infection among patients who were tested for COVID-19 even after adjustment for age, gender, socioeconomic status, and chronic, mental and physical disorders.”
He further added to his statement, “Furthermore, low vitamin D level was associated with the risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 infection, although this association wasn’t significant after adjustment for other confounders.”
The research tries to understand if patients with vitamin D deficiency are at risk of contracting coronavirus or getting severely ill and requiring hospitalization. The research further reveals that consuming vitamin D supplements can help avoid severe respiratory effects due to COVID-19.
Dr. Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern says, “We don’t know the mechanism. What we do know is that people who develop severe COVID-19 and we’re hospitalized – these people have significantly low vitamin D levels.”
How Much Vitamin D Do I Require?
The National Institute of Health recommends the following everyday dosage of vitamin D in different age groups:
- 0-12 months: 400 IU
- 1-13 years: 600 IU
- 14-18 years: 600 IU
- 19-50 years: 600 IU
- 51-70 years: 600 IU
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women: 600 IU
- 70 years and above: 800 IU
Sources of Vitamin D:
- Some of the best sources of vitamin D are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna.
- You can also get your daily source of vitamin D from fortified milk. It contains a higher amount of nutrients such as vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus.
- If you expose mushrooms to UV light, then the vitamin D level in them amps up. Therefore, mushrooms can also be a rich source of the sunshine vitamin.
- Vitamin D is also present in small amounts in food items such as beef liver, egg yolks, and cheese.
Your body makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to the sun. If you’re confined to indoor environments, then your skin will not produce it. Therefore, you’ll suffer from vitamin D deficiency. To combat it, you can also consume several vitamin D supplements recommended by your healthcare provider.
The FEBS journal of molecular, cellular, and biochemical life sciences has published this groundbreaking research. In our fight against the coronavirus, researches like this provide us with more leverage to win the battle. Hopefully, it won’t be long till scientists across the globe uncover all secrets about the deadly coronavirus.