Can vitamin D protect against severe Covid 19 disease?

Already at the beginning of the global corona pandemic appeared various links and videos who suggested that a vitamin D deficiency makes one more susceptible to the coronavirus and that there is a risk of going through a severe course. At that time there was no answer to that. Because we didn’t know the virus well enough, there were no studies. Only gradually are more and more studies carried out on a wide variety of aspects through which we can better assess the virus. But what about vitamin D?

Vitamin D is not covered by food alone

Vitamin D is actually not by definition correct vitamin, rather the precursor of a hormone. Vitamins are mainly taken in through food. This is only the case with vitamin D to ten to twenty percent. Few foods contain enough vitamin D to meet your needs. The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has one table published, which lists the vitamin D content of some common foods.

Get out in the sun!

Hence the Vitamin D memory best filled up over the sun. Due to the UVB radiation, the liver and kidneys form the vital vitamin. In summer, a walk in the fresh air is sufficient: expose face, arms, legs and hands to the sun for five to 25 minutes a day. That fills the memory and leaves us come over the winter months. According to general practitioner Oliver Abbushi, that little bit of sun has no effect on the vitamin D level in winter, as it does in the winter BR-Interview tells. In general, people with light skin can form vitamin D more easily, as the high melatonin content in dark skin makes it more difficult to form.

Vitamin D deficiency especially in the elderly

In the elderly, it can become one faster Vitamin D deficiency come, as the formation of vitamin D decreases extremely with age. In addition, education can be impaired in people who do not go out in the sun regularly. This applies in particular to people with restricted mobility, chronically ill and people in need of care – often older people. Then preparations can help, food supplements. The dosage should, however, be discussed with a doctor.

Previous illnesses favor a severe course of Covid-19

These are precisely the risk groups that are particularly prone to a severe course of Covid-19, since their immune system is already weakened. Most of them already have other pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiovascular diseases. These can favor a severe course of Covid-19. Doctors know that sick, elderly people are generally more likely to suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. The vitamin D level can also be an indicator of how healthy a person is.

Studies show an increased risk of death

In the summer you could read of an Indonesian study with 780 patients, according to which the mortality rate from Covid-19 due to a vitamin D deficiency would have increased ten-fold. It was from a “dramatically increased risk of death” written. The study is no longer available. The situation is similar with a study from the Philippines, in which 212 patients examined had a life-threatening course of Covid-19 23 times more often with low vitamin D values ​​than in those patients with normal values.

No causality between vitamin D deficiency and Covid-19

The problem with the studies is that a causality is used that is not so easy to deduce. Because the studies only establish that the vitamin D level was quite low in patients with severe courses at the same time. But he is not the cause. There is no direct connection. A lack of vitamin D can simply mean that there are other pre-existing conditions that have lowered the level, which in turn can lead to a severe course of Covid-19. Or that a vitamin D level that was low from the start led to the other previous illnesses in the first place. Because vitamin D is very important for a functioning immune system.

Vitamin D alone is not responsible

This is the conclusion reached by Metastudie of the team led by nutritionist Hans-Konrad Biesalski from the University of Hohenheim, which evaluated 30 studies dealing with the topic. Their conclusion: the risk of a severe course of Covid-19 is higher for patients with a low vitamin D level than for those with normal values. But this is also due to the fact that a vitamin D deficiency is often associated with other previous illnesses. All of these together can lead to a severe course of Covid-19. A Spanish study therefore only soberly states that 80 percent of Covid 19 patients in the hospital have a vitamin D deficiency. Again, this is not surprising in that most Covid 19 patients in the hospital are older or already have previous illnesses and therefore often have low vitamin D levels.

Observations in other diseases

Something similar is already known about other diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. According to the Robert Koch Institute were abnormalities observed in connection with a low vitamin D level, but no causal relationship has been found here either. In contrast, it has been proven that vitamin D deficiency in children leads to rickets, in adults to decalcification of the bones, and in serious cases to it osteoporosis, can lead.

Comparative study is still pending

The longer the virus accompanies us, the more studies will be carried out. In order to establish a connection between the vitamin D level and a severe course of Covid-19, a study would have to be carried out that compares the course of the disease with the addition of vitamin D. One group of patients would have to be given vitamin D, the other only a placebo – as a control group.

Methodical impurity

That was tried in Spain study but caused controversy Discussions in the professional world: Of 50 Covid-19 patients who received vitamin D, only one ended up in the intensive care unit. In the control group – without vitamin D – it was 50 percent. Sounds good at first, but experts criticize the fact that the patient groups were not selected straight away. From the beginning there were significantly more people with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure in the control group. Diseases that we already know can lead to a severe course of Corona. It is therefore not surprising that these end up in the intensive care unit. However, based on the study, it is not possible to draw the reverse conclusion about vitamin D.

Do not take vitamin D preventively

Therefore, so far there has been no recommendation from doctors to take vitamin D as a preventative drug for a weak corona course. It won’t hurt your vitamin D deficiency (if it is present) compensate with preparations – But on the contrary. Vitamin D is part of a healthy and strong immune system, our body needs vitamin D. However, it has not yet been proven that the vitamin explicitly protects against a severe course of Covid-19.

Be careful with overdose

Furthermore warns the RKI before an overdose of vitamin D. This can lead to increased calcium levels, which can lead to stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting and cardiac arrhythmias. In severe cases, even the kidneys can be damaged.

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