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People with low levels of Vitamin D may be more likely to catch coronavirus and die from COVID-19 infection, study suggests

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A preliminary study has found tentative evidence suggesting low levels of vitamin D may make it more likely an individual will die after contracting coronavirus.

The research compared average levels of vitamin D across 20 European countries with COVID-19 infection rate and mortality.

It revealed a convincing correlation where countries with low vitamin D levels were also the countries with highest mortality and COVID-19 infection rates.

The study has not yet been peer-reviewed and scrutinised by other scientists and is unable to prove vitamin D is the reason behind this link.

However, the scientists from Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation Trust and the University of East Anglia write in their study: ‘We believe, that we can advise Vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection.’

This finding backs up a separate study which also found vitamin D may improve a person’s chance of recovery after contracting the coronavirus.

A ten-week trial from the University of Granada is currently ongoing after a recent study by Trinity College Dublin found adults who took Vitamin D supplements saw a 50 per cent fall in chest infections.

Scientists from Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation Trust and the University of East Anglia write in their study: ‘We believe, that we can advise Vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection’

Pictured, a correlation graph showing the relationship between levels of viamin D (bottom, measured in nmol/l) and compared to infection numbers of coronavirus for 20 European countries. It reveals a convincing correlation where countries with low vitamin D levels were also the countries with highest COVID-19 infection rates

Pictured, graph showing coronavirus mortality compared to vitamin D levels per country (bottom, measured in nmol/l). The dotted line shows the overall trend revealing a correlation between vitamin D levels and COVID-19 death rates

The latest study used pre-existing data on vitamin D levels, including from a comprehensive 2019 study led by Paul Lips, Professor Emeritus of internal medicine at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

This previous study collected data on vitamin D levels of populations across Europe and the Middle East.

The study involved taking vitamin D measurements of thousands of individuals.

The latest study on the vitamin’s effectiveness against COVID-19 narrowed this data to 20 countries, to negate any interfering factors, such as a country’s latitude.

The average amount of vitamin D in serum samples was (56 nmol/l), with anything below 30nmol/l deemed ‘severely deficient’.

The latest study took the existing database of vitamin D levels and found worryingly low levels of vitamin D in the elderly, a demographic more at risk of dying after contracting the coronavirus.

‘[The study shows levels of] vitamin D of 26nmol/L in Spain, 28 nmol/L in Italy and 45 nmol/L in the Nordic countries, in older people,’ the researchers write.

‘In Switzerland, mean vitamin D levels are 23(nmol/L) in nursing homes and in Italy 76 per cent of women over 70 years of age have been found to have circulating levels below 30nmol/L.

‘These are countries with high number of cases of COVID–19 and the ageing people is the group with the highest risk for morbidity and mortality with SARS-Cov2.’

Vitamin D can make its way into the human body either through certain foods, such as fish and mushroom, or can be produced by skin cells when exposed to sunlight.

A simple statistical analysis, called a t-test, was then performed on the two sets of data to determine any relationship which unearthed the correlation between deaths and vitamin D levels.

‘The most vulnerable group of population for COVID-19 is also the one that was the most deficit in vitamin D,’ the researchers conclude in their preliminary report.

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