Vitamin D and COVID-19: What Does the Science Say?
At the start of the coronavirus lockdown period, I wrote an article on the link between vitamin D and respiratory health. This link has not gone unnoticed in the scientific community. In this article I would like to explore some of the most recent research papers that further delve into the benefits of vitamin D in reducing the risk posed by COVID-19.
Can Vitamin D Supplements Help to Prevent Coronavirus?
This timely research paper was published earlier this month, citing 157 other research papers and potentially opening a new front on COVID-19:
It delivers rather less than it promises as the authors are neither scientists nor doctors and there is no original research. This is nevertheless an extensive survey of research on Vitamin D’s benefits, and the harm arising from a deficiency for a whole host of conditions – not merely COVID-19 but also heart disease, sepsis, diabetes and others.
This is all valid, but it is not ground-breaking. No work specific to COVID-19 has yet taken place.
Digging a bit deeper into the provenance of the authors, most work for the Grassroots Health Nutrient Research Institute and it takes only a cursory look at their website to see that these are vitamin D evangelists; this is an opportunist publication to bring their favourite subject into the general discussion. Time will tell whether this works, but their lukewarm conclusion –
“For treatment of people who become infected with COVID-19, higher vitamin D3 doses might be useful”
– is not likely to move the dial by much.
Does this matter? Probably not. The benefits of vitamin D during this epidemic have already reached the national media here and across the pond.
Proudly Preaching the Power of Vitamin D
We defer to no-one in our enthusiasm for vitamin D and the many benefits it confers and there is ample hard science to support our belief. We absolutely believe that vitamin D supplementations will fortify against this virus, particularly because it attacks the lungs.
In terms of how Vitamin D works, we find this paper invaluable: “Vitamin D increases the antiviral activity of bronchial epithelial cells in vitro.”
It describes in detail the mode of action for the antiviral effects of vitamin D in the lungs. It is entirely original research from a true leader in this domain: The National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London. It provides the breakthrough of a new therapeutic treatment for viruses affecting the bronchial system like, say, COVID-19.
However, it is a measure of how little this is appreciated in the medical profession that it has received only 20 citations in the four years since publication. It is for this reason, if no other, that the efforts of the evangelists like GrassRoots Health and, indeed, ourselves continue to be necessary.