Vitamin D May Reduce Covid-19 Risk in an Aged Population


In a systematic review of literature published before March 15th, 2021 – regarding an association between Vitamin D deficiency and the risk to Covid-19 in an aged population, French researchers report that, “vitamin D deficiency appears to expose these subjects to a greater risk of adverse outcomes. Because of its simplicity of administration, and the rarity of side effects, including vitamin D in preventive strategies for certain viral diseases, it appears to be an attractive option.”

This study – Relation Between Vitamin D and Covid-19 in Aged People: A Systematic Review – which appeared in the April 2021issue of the online, peer reviewed journal Nutrients, used 707 studies identified to assess adverse outcomes and the benefits of Vitamin D supplementation for people 60 years and older with Covid-19 exposure. Studies included data from aged patients on vitamin D use and Covid-19, while basic science articles, editorials, and correspondence was excluded from the analysis.

Since its inception in December of 2019, Sars-CoV-2, Covid-19, has become a worldwide pandemic. Most infections cause mild-to-moderate signs, while severe forms – acute respiratory distress secondary to lung damage – of the disease can lead to death, especially in aged people or those with comorbidities, such as obesity, hypertension, pulmonary issues, and heart disease.

It’s also known that respiratory complications beyond seven days were caused by a dysregulation of the immune system – referenced as a cytokine storm. Vitamin D has proven to support an immune response through activation of the innate immunity, which reduces the overactivity of the adaptive immune system.

According to the researchers, “there was a high prevalence of low vitamin D levels, even in countries with abundant sunshine, particularly in aged people. Observational studies suggest an association between low serum vitamin D level and susceptibility to acute respiratory tract infection.”

Further, comment the French researchers, “concerning the relationship between vitamin D level and outcomes in COVID-19, patients with vitamin D deficiency have worse clinical outcomes than non-deficient patients in terms of mortality.”

Also noting that, “aged people are at greater risk of severe forms of COVID-19 infection and at risk of vitamin D deficiency, prompting some authors to suggest that vitamin D supplementation may improve the prognosis of aged people infected by SARS-CoV- 2.”

The good news is that you can check your vitamin D status with a blood test. Depending on the laboratory reference range, a vitamin D blood value of less than 20 ng/mL is considered deficient, while a reference range of between 20-30 ng/mL is considered insufficient. 

Your primary care physician can provide you with appropriate supplement guidelines, which might include a prescription vitamin D, if deficient.

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If you are interested in reading more about vitamin D and it’s relationship with Covid-19.. Check out African Americans with Low Vitamin D Status Have Increased Covid-19 Risk