Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of Covid-19 infection, reveals Israeli research

A significant link was observed between low plasma vitamin D level and the likelihood of Covid-19 infection and hospitalization among patients
Vitamin D deficiency increases risk of Covid-19 infection, reveals Israeli research

Guwahati: Israeli researchers have found that low levels of Vitamin D can increase the risk of contracting Covid-19 caused by the novel coronavirus or SARS-CoV-2. The study was conducted jointly by researchers from the Leumit Health Services (LHS) and the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-llan University in Israel.

A significant link between low plasma vitamin D level and the likelihood of coronavirus infection and hospitalization was found among the patients tested for the virus, as per the study. Due to lockdown, the time that people spent outdoors has relatively reduced and thus, experts have been emphasizing the importance of getting daily recommended doses of vitamins.

Dr. Milana Frenkel Morgenstern, leader of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine research group said that about 70 percent of the worlds' population is vitamin D deficient or insufficient. In this light, the finding of this research is important. "It has shown that vitamin D is critical for the functioning of the human immune system", she informed.

The study was conducted on 782 Covid-19 positive patients and 7,025 negative patients. "The main finding of our study was the significant association of low plasma vitamin D level with the likelihood of Covid-19 infection among patients who tested for Covid-19, even after adjustment for age, gender, socioeconomic status, and chronic, mental and physical disorders," said Dr. Eugene Merzon, head of Leumit's Department of Managed Care. The larding researcher also added, "Furthermore, low vitamin D level was associated with the risk of hospitalization due to Covdi-19 infection, although their association wasn't significant after making necessary adjustments to confounders."

"We don't know the mechanism. What we do know is that people who developed severe Covid and were hospitalized had significantly low vitamin D levels," said Frenkel-Morgenstern.

The research has been published in The FEBS Journal on molecular, cellular, and biochemical life sciences.

Vitamin D promotes healthy bones and teeth, regulates insulin levels, strengthens the functioning of the immune system and brain, supports lung and cardiovascular health. In children, an adequate amount of vitamin D prevents rickets and in adults, it prevents osteomalacia in adults.

One of the best sources of vitamin D is sunlight. Egg yolks, fatty fishes like salmon, sardines, beef liver, cheese, mushrooms, fortified milk and yogurt, fortified cereals, and fortified orange juice are some of the food sources of vitamin D.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has laid down the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for vitamin D for different age groups, which are as follows:

• 400 IU for 0-12 months

• 600 IU for 1-13 years

• 600 IU for 14-18 years

• 600 IU for 19-50 years

• 600 IU for 51-70 years

• 600 IU for pregnant or breastfeeding women

• 800 IU for adults over age 70 years

Besides diet and sun exposure, if you consider taking vitamin D supplements, consult a doctor before taking them.

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