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Rapid Vitamin D Delivery May Result in Better COVID Outcomes (Mercola.com)
Rapid Vitamin D Delivery May Result in Better COVID
Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked
One study published in Nutrients found supplementing with vitamin D in patients with
confirmed COVID-19 shortened the length of hospitalization, even in those with
This data is part of mounting evidence that those with optimal levels of vitamin D may
have a reduced risk of getting infected and, if infected, a lowered risk of severe disease
The only way to definitively identify a deficiency is through a blood test. Look for these
general signs and symptoms that you need to get tested sooner rather than later. They
include frequent infections, fatigue, daytime sleepiness and head sweating
Your body is capable of producing vitamin D with exposure to sunlight. In fact, with
adequate exposure, your skin can produce enough vitamin D to support your health.
Early research showed that too little vitamin D led to poor calcium homeostasis. In turn,
this can lead to osteoporosis, osteomalacia and rickets.
Multiple studies have since demonstrated that a deficiency “is associated with
increased risk and greater severity of infection, particularly of the respiratory tract.”
While nearly every study finds a relationship between vitamin D and upper respiratory
infections, not all find that vitamin D has the same impact on the infections.
One factor that may influence the varied results is how the researchers measure the
intervention and data. In other words, are they measuring the amount of
supplementation being given or are they looking at the vitamin D blood levels
demonstrating deficiency against the impact on infection?
Study Shows Vitamin D Shortens COVID and Decreases Mortality
A study published in November 2021 sought to identify if vitamin D may play a role in
the treatment of COVID-19. The researchers noted that patients admitted to the
intensive care unit had high plasma levels of biomarkers indicating inflammation. They
“Given the natural three-stage clinical course of the disease, inadequate innate
immune response in the first stage and immune-mediated damage due to
dysregulated immune response in the second stage are considered to be the
major determinants of poor outcomes.”
Should a supplement or drug be able to support the immune response in the first or
second stage, it may help reduce the severity and mortality of the illness. The
researchers first gathered retrospective data from 867 patients at the Istanbul
University-Cerrahpasa Faculty Hospital.
The patients had a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 but were excluded from the cohort
if they had comorbidities associated with vitamin D deficiency, such as cancer, kidney
disease, cardiovascular disease or autoimmune diseases. Each of the patients received
an antiviral and some received anti-cytokine treatment. Clinical outcomes were
measured against serum vitamin D status.
In the retrospective arm of the study, the researchers split the participants into four
groups determined by their serum 25OHD level. The data from this arm revealed that the
risk of hospitalization longer than eight days was 1.9 times higher in patients in three of
The second part was designed as a prospective study involving 210 people with
confirmed COVID-19. The researchers included 23 healthy individuals. In this group
there were 163 participants with serum 25OHD levels less than 30 ng/mL. These
individuals received vitamin D3 treatment according to the protocol that was created by
reviewing evidence from past literature.
The researchers administered vitamin D3 based on whether patients were an inpatient
or in the ICU and which group they were in. The total time the vitamin D was
administered ranged from 14 days for inpatients to three days for ICU patients.
Researchers measured peripheral blood samples in all their patients on Days 1 through
3 before treatment and on Day 7 and Day 14 in those who received treatment.
Participants in the prospective group were also treated according to the current national
guidelines, which at the time did not recommend vitamin D supplementation.
The treatment protocol increased the serum 25OHD level significantly above 30 ng/mL
within two weeks in those receiving the intervention. They found that vitamin D
treatment shortened the length of hospitalization in those with COVID-19, even when
there were comorbidities present. They concluded:
“Having vitamin D treatment decreased the mortality rate by 2.14 times. It has
been determined that vitamin D supplementation is effective on various
targeted parameters; therefore, it is an important parameter for the course of
COVID-19, and serum vitamin D levels and correlation analyses between these
parameters confirm this inference.”
Further Evidence Vitamin D Impacts COVID Outcome
There is strong scientific evidence that vitamin D plays a central role in your immune
response and your ability to fight infections. In this video, Ivor Cummins, biochemist and
chief program officer for Irish Heart Disease Awareness, explains how recent studies
supporting higher levels of vitamin D may reduce your risk of negative outcomes from
He also identifies some of the conditions known to be associated with low vitamin D
levels. These include low sun exposure, insulin and leptin resistance, high levels of
inflammation and a poor diet. One study Cummins reviews was released by Mark Alipio,
who received no funding for his work.
The data was an analysis of 212 people who had lab-confirmed COVID-19 and for whom
serum 25OHD levels were available. Alipio used the classification system based on past
research similar to the four categories used in the featured Nutrients study. The
difference was that two categories from the featured study were combined, but the
classification of the other two remained the same.
Alipio discovered that vitamin D levels were strongly correlated to the severity of illness.
As you can see in the graphic Cummins used from the study at minute 2:20 in the video
above, of the 49 who had mild illness, 47 had vitamin D levels above 30 ng/mL. It is
important to note that most experts consider this level roughly half of what optimal
vitamin D levels should be, which is 40ng/mL to 60ng/mL.
This means 96% of the patients with mild illness had normal levels of vitamin D. Of the
other two categories combining severe or critical illness, only 4% had normal levels of
One early study hypothesized that vitamin D protects the body against SARS-CoV-2
infections and sought to assess if there was an association between vitamin D levels
and the number of COVID-19 infections. The data included only European countries and
found a significant relationship between the mean (average) vitamin D level and the
number of infections.
People who were most vulnerable to this respiratory infection were the most deficient.
Another early study that evaluated the role vitamin D deficiency plays in preventing
respiratory infections found similar results. The researchers wrote that vitamin D had:
“… significant protective effect when it was given daily or weekly to people with
lowest vitamin D levels: the risk of having at least one ARI was reduced from
60% to 32% in these people.”
Later studies throughout 2020 and 2021 have added to the mounting evidence that
vitamin D has a significant effect on the severity and mortality of people with COVID-19
and may help reduce hospitalization rates.
Low vitamin D is associated with rising inflammatory cytokines and increased risk of
pneumonia and respiratory tract infections.
Vitamin D influences the regulation of the inflammatory cascade and deficiency is
associated with "increased risk of infections including influenza virus, tuberculosis
(TB), human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the recent pandemic due to severe
acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)."
Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of COVID-19 severity and mortality.
Vitamin D reduces inflammation caused by T-cells, which could potentially benefit
people with COVID-19.
Literature review showed serum levels of vitamin D are associated with the risk of
infection, severity of illness and mortality from COVID-19.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of infection, severity of illness
and mortality from COVID-19; presented at the American Society for Bone and
Mineral Research 2021 Annual Meeting.
Data revealed that 83% of 11,901 patients from 23 studies were either deficient or
had insufficient levels of vitamin D making the odds of getting infected 3.3 times
higher and developing severe disease five times higher in those with deficiency.
The active form of vitamin D can inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that
Vitamin D deficiency in 489 patients increased the risk of testing positive by 1.77
times compared to those with sufficient levels. Deficiency was defined by levels of
25OHD of less than 20ng/mL.
Bolus vitamin D supplementation in frail elderly just before or during COVID-19 was
associated with better survival rates and less severe disease.
Study demonstrated the association between vitamin D deficiency and severity and
mortality from COVID-19.
Vitamin D supplementation may prevent COVID-19 or treat the disease in adults and
Top Signs You May Have a Vitamin D Deficiency
The only way to definitively identify a vitamin D deficiency is through blood testing.
However, there are some general signs and symptoms that may indicate you should get
your vitamin D tested sooner rather than later.
Ongoing musculoskeletal pain or achy bones
Frequent illnesses or infections
Neurological symptoms, including depression
Fatigue and daytime sleepiness
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways of measuring your vitamin D level is to
participate in GrassrootsHealth's DAction, which is a vitamin D intervention population
program. The test is done in the convenience of your home and the results are sent
directly to you.
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Grassroots Health, DAction
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