Vitamin D is known to adjust how the white blood cells respond, preventing them from releasing excess of inflammatory cytokines.
Vitamin D and COVID-19: A study has shown that there is a link between levels of Vitamin D and cases of COVID-19 and mortality rate. The study was led by scientists from Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in the UK and Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust. The research, which examined data from 20 countries in Europe and found that low levels of the vitamin was associated with a high number of coronavirus cases, has been published in the journal Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, according to the statement released by ARU.
The statement said that Vitamin D is known to adjust how the white blood cells respond, preventing them from releasing excess of inflammatory cytokines, which are a part of the body’s immune response to tackle any infections. The virus which causes COVID-19 is known to stir up a cytokine storm, which means that it causes a large number of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
The research, according to the official statement, says that Italy and Spain, where mortality rate due to COVID-19 was very high, have a lower average level of Vitamin D as compared to most of the Northern European countries. The researchers have attributed these levels of Vitamin D to the fact that people in Southern Europe, elderly in particular, avoid the Sun, while skin pigmentation also plays a role in decreased synthesis of natural Vitamin D.
On the contrary, Northern European countries were found to have the highest levels of Vitamin D, due to less avoidance of the Sun and consumption of cod liver oil and Vitamin D supplements. This is linked in the study with the fact that Scandinavian countries, which lie in the northern part of the continent, have had the lowest number of cases and mortality rate due to COVID-19 in Europe, the statement said.
The statement further quoted ARU’s Dr Lee Smith as saying that the researchers found a “crude relationship” between average levels of Vitamin D and cases of COVID-19, and mortality rates due to the disease in particular, per head of the population across the European countries examined in the research. Dr Lee was further quoted as adding that the vitamin has been shown to protect people from acute respiratory syndromes, and moreover, adult groups suffering from most deficiency of the vitamin, have also been the vulnerable group most severely affected by the disease.