According to a recent Dr. Mercola post, depending on someone's vitamin D levels, COVID-19 could be more, or less deadly. This simple and inexpensive vitamin could be one of the lifesaving answers to the current pandemic.
Dr. Mercola's post continues - In a June 22, 2020, Orthomolecular Medicine News Service press release, Damien Downing, president of the British Society for Ecological Medicine, outlines how we could resolve the COVID-19 pandemic in 30 days for about $2 per person, simply by taking affirmative action to raise vitamin D levels. The downside or risk of doing this is basically nil, while the potential gain could be avoiding another COVID-19 spike altogether.
"If we could arrange to give everyone vitamin D, and it failed to protect them, so what? The risk from not acting is much greater than the risk from acting," Downing says, adding: "If you caught the COVID19 virus right now, having a good vitamin D status (from already having taken a supplement) would :
Reduce your risk of the disease becoming severe by 90%
Reduce your risk of dying by 96%
This is not 'proven' or 'evidence-based' until we have done controlled trials comparing it to placebo … But the data, already strong, has been pouring in since the start of the pandemic."
Downing goes on to cite research and supporting data. Among them is a study from the Philippines, which found that for each standard deviation increase in serum vitamin D, the odds of experiencing only mild disease rather than severe illness was 7.94 times greater, and the odds of having a mild clinical outcome rather than a critical outcome was 19.61 times greater. According to the author:
"The results suggest that an increase in serum 25(OH)D level in the body could either improve clinical outcomes or mitigate worst (severe to critical) outcomes, while a decrease in serum 25(OH)D level in the body could worsen clinical outcomes of COVID-2019 patients."
Another study from Indonesia, which looked at data from 780 COVID-19 patients, found those with a vitamin D level between 20 ng/mL (50 nmol/L) and 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) had a sevenfold higher risk of death than those with a level above 30 ng/mL. Having a level below 20 ng/mL was associated with a 12 times higher risk of death. As noted by Downing:
"With a deficient vitamin D status (<50nmol/L) the mortality rate from COVID-19 was 98.8% against 4.1% with adequate vitamin D (>75nmol/L). The Hazard Ratio is 24.1 … A Hazard Ratio of 4 means that in one condition, for instance vitamin D deficiency, you are 4 times more likely to suffer the 'hazard' than in another condition, say vitamin D adequacy."
A third paper, which provides data from 20 European countries, also found that "the probability of developing COVID-19, and of dying from it, is negatively correlated with mean population vitamin D status, with both probabilities reaching zero above about 75 nmol/L," (30 ng/mL) Downing notes.
Curious to know how your body makes Vitamin D? Your body is able to produce its own vitamin D3 when your skin is exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays, specifically ultraviolet (UVB) radiation. When UVB rays hit your skin, a chemical reaction happens: Your body begins the process of converting a prohormone in the skin into vitamin D. In this process, a form of cholesterol called 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC), naturally found in your skin, absorbs the UVB radiation and gets converted into cholecalciferol. Cholecalciferol is the previtamin form of D3.
Next, the previtamin travels through your bloodstream to your liver, where the body begins to metabolize it, turning it into hydroxyvitamin D, which is also known as 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D. The kidneys then convert the 25(OH)D into dihydroxyvitamin D, also called 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)2D -- this is the hormone form of vitamin D your body can use [sources:The George Mateljan Foundation,Holick].
People are vitamin D deficient now more than ever due to several factors like spending more time indoors whether it be to watch tv, play video games, working or purposely staying out of the sun due to fear of skin cancer. Other factors include more people living in cities where UV light is reduced due to air pollution, drinking soda and beverages with fructose which uses up calcium which is used by D, less cholesterol which is needed to produce vitamin D, obesity and much more.
Dr. Mercola recommends everyone to optimize your vitamin D this summer. Again, the optimal blood level for health and disease prevention is between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL. (In Europe, the measurements you're looking for are 150 to 200 nmol/L and 100 nmol/L respectively.)
However, simply getting above 30 ng/mL (75 nmol/L) may dramatically reduce your risk of serious infection and death, and doing so is both easy and inexpensive. As stated by Downing, we could fix the COVID-19 pandemic in as little as 30 days simply by making sure everyone is taking vitamin D in sufficiently large doses.