Two new studies this month suggest vitamin D might play a role in COVID-19.
In one, researchers found that 85 percent of patients with COVID-19 in the ICU had vitamin D insufficiency. 100 percent of ICU patients under the age of 75 had vitamin D insufficiency.
In the other, researchers looked at the average vitamin D levels in the populations of 20 European countries. Countries with low mean levels of vitamin D were also the ones with the most cases and the highest mortality rates from COVID-19.
Vitamin D is helpful for a number of health conditions outside of infectious diseases. It has been linked to bone density and osteoporosis, diabetes, heart attacks, and certain types of cancers. It’s even been shown to improve cognitive function for older adults with dementia.
Vitamin D isn’t found in many foods, but you can get it from fortified milk and cereal, and fatty fish, like salmon. Even better, you can get it by going outside. Your body will produce plenty of vitamin D with just five to ten minutes in the sun two to three times a week.
Now, these are early COVID-19 studies and results that haven’t been peer reviewed. They aren’t reasons to start taking large doses of vitamin D supplements each day. In fact, high doses can be harmful. But it might be worth talking to your doctor about getting testing for vitamin D deficiency and possible supplementation, if not for COVID-19, but maybe your overall health.