by Natalie O’Neil
People with low levels of vitamin D may be more likely to die from the coronavirus, according to a preliminary study.
Researchers at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation Trust and the University of East Anglia in England compared the average vitamin D levels of 20 European countries with COVID-19 mortality rates — and found “significant relationships” between vitamin D levels and the number of deaths caused by this infection.
The study, which has not been peer-reviewed, notes sun-starved “Nordic” countries are among the most at risk.
“We believe that we can advise vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection,” the researchers wrote.
The finding falls in line with previous research that suggests healthy vitamin D levels can reduce the risk of respiratory infections.
And a study from Trinity College Dublin earlier this month, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, found that the vitamin plays a critical role in preventing respiratory infections and boosting the immune system response to infections. The researchers wrote that vitamin D reduced the risk of chest infections by half in people who took supplements.
The latest study found older people in Switzerland, Italy and Spain were the most at risk of being deficient.
“The most vulnerable group of the population for COVID–19 is also the one that has the most deficit in Vitamin D,” it wrote.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes healthy bones and supports immune system function. Your body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight, but it can also be obtained from eating foods such as fatty fish, egg yolks, mushrooms and cheese.