News & Politics

Vitamin D May Help You Fight Coronavirus

FILE - In this July 6, 2017, file photo, late afternoon sun sparkles off the Willamette River in Portland, Ore. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to scale back the scope and cost of a planned $1 billion cleanup of the Portland Harbor superfund site because the agency says new research shows one contaminant is less toxic than previously thought, reducing the cost of the project by $35 million. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

With each passing day, as we learn more about coronavirus it’s less and less sure that we should have shut down so much. The mortality rates skew strongly toward older individuals with underlying conditions and presence in nursing homes. Hindsight isn’t quite 20/20, not with a virus we still do not understand well, but locking people inside and forbidding them to surf, skate and go for walks in the park may create vitamin D deficiencies and amp up the danger of COVID infection.

Led by Northwestern University, the research team conducted a statistical analysis of data from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States.

The researchers noted that patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as Italy, Spain and the UK, had lower levels of vitamin D compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected.

The researchers say this isn’t a call to start taking supplements if you don’t have a known deficiency. But locking people indoors, when there’s usually a brilliant source of vitamin D up in the sky outside, just seems ill-advised now.

Not only does vitamin D enhance our innate immune systems, it also prevents our immune systems from becoming dangerously overactive. This means that having healthy levels of vitamin D could protect patients against severe complications, including death, from COVID-19.

“Our analysis shows that it might be as high as cutting the mortality rate in half,” Backman said. “It will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus, but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected.”

Some research suggests that the virus doesn’t live long in warm weather, though that’s not a slam dunk just yet. And it’s very likely that UV light kills virii.

So go outside.

Bryan Preston is the author of Hubble’s Revelations: The Amazing Time Machine and Its Most Important Discoveries

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