Health Updates

Vitamin D Could Cut COVID-19 Deaths By 60 Percent, Experts Say

Administering high dose of Vitamin D to coronavirus patients when they are admitted to hospital could cut deaths by 60 percent, doubling the benefit of the best current drug, a recent study suggests.

Photo: Vitamin D | InStyleHealth

Experts from the University of Barcelona revealed that patients prescribed calcifediol, which is an intensive dose of Vitamin D usually given to people with chronic kidney failure had their risk of admission to intensive care dramatically cut and death rates significantly declined.

At present, the steroid dexamethasone has proven the greatest impact, reducing casualties by 30 percent, and is now being recommended for seriously ill NHS patients; however, the new study suggests calcifediol could be twice as favorable if administered early.

In the research, 10 percent of the patients confined in Barcelona’s Hospital de Mar with coronavirus died within 30 days. However, while 57 out of 379 (15 percent) control patients died, and just 6.5 percent or 36 out of the 551 patients who were treated with calcifediol died.

Experts found that earlier treatment with calcifediol was better. If given on admission to ICU, the treatment made no significant difference.

The authors of the study concluded, “Our results indicate that early calcifediol administration is critical for mortality reduction, since initiation of calcifediol during ICU did not modify patient survival.

The authors concluded: "Our results indicate that early calcifediol administration is critical for mortality reduction, since initiation of calcifediol during ICU admission did not modify patient survival.”

“Ultimately these effects are thought to curb the inflammatory cascade that leads to the cytokine and chemokine storm associated with the pathogenesis of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Adequate Vitamin D status could also play a role in preventing COVID-19 infection.”

There has been a growing speculation that one of the reasons why black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities are so disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 is endemic low levels of Vitamin D in BAME populace.

Vitamin D is produced naturally in the body when skin comes into contact with sunshine and is vital for healthy bones, strong muscles and good immune system. However, not as much sunlight can penetrate darker skins, meaning less of Vitamin D is being produced in the body.

The National Health Service (NHS) currently recommends that people need to take Vitamin D supplements in the winter season.

Last year, experts from Anglia Ruskin University published work showing a significant correlation between the number of coronavirus cases compared with the average population levels of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D has been proven to protect against acute respiratory infections. It will also regulate the response of the white blood cells, preventing them from releasing too many inflammatory cells that may stop the body overreacting to the virus.

Some experts said it was unclear whether the study was fully randomized, while others though they were concerned that people may think Vitamin D would be enough to protect them from COVID-19 and urged them to still have a vaccine.

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