Vitamin D Deficiency Could Be The Reason For Higher Mortality Rates In Coronavirus Cases

New study by researchers is linking Vitamin D deficiency to a greater risk of death in Coronavirus patients.
Sshradha Sinngh
By: Sshradha Sinngh Updated: May 11, 2020 17:11 IST
Vitamin D Deficiency Could Be The Reason For Higher Mortality Rates In Coronavirus Cases
Vitamin D Deficiency Could Be The Reason For Higher Mortality Rates In Coronavirus Cases

For the past many years the “sunshine vitamin" – Vitamin D has been in discussions for its powerful role in the smooth functioning of most of our body functions. Getting enough quantity of the vitamin is essential for a healthy life, but with the lifestyle most of us are living these days, there is very little or about nil sunlight exposure. This can have a major impact on our immunity- our body's first very important barrier to ward off any viral or bacterial infections. 

Keeping your vitamins at adequate levels has been never as important as it has become in today's times, and hence taking supplements for Vitamin D has become imperative. Vitamin D helps keep bones strong and helps fight muscle pains, depression, anxiety, fatigue away. Interestingly, this essential vitamin is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight. The self-generation of this vitamin is best in young and fair skinned people while this efficiency of the skin comes down with age and for darker skinned people. 

Needless to say this vitamin has many important functions to play. One of the most important function it plays is the absorption of Calcium in the body. To keep the blood calcium levels at optimum it is important for the body to keep generating Vitamin D for good calcium absorption, else the parathyroid glands start borrowing the required amount of calcium from the skeleton to keep your blood calcium levels balanced.

Vitamin D Deficiency and COVID-19 

A new study led by scientists from the UK, states that a deficiency of vitamin D increases the chances of getting the COVID-19 as well as increases the mortality rate. 

The study states that vitamin D not only enhances ones inherent immunity, but also prevents the immune system from getting dangerously overactive. It is when ones immune system gets overactive, it gives rise to an inflammatory response, known as the cytokine storm, which is one of the reasons for death in COVID-19 patients.

Reports state that in the case of COVID-19 patients, the cytokine storm is mostly seen in the lungs, which leads to respiratory failure.

Usually, our bodies release cytokines to fight any foreign micro-organisms trying to enter our body. But, vitamin D deficient humans, release these cytokines in excess leading to a cytokine storm. 

Other Effects Of Vitamin D Deficiency :

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to some short term problems while some could become grave or chronic for life :

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Immune system disorders
  • Viral, bacterial infections
  • Types of cancer like – prostate, breast cancer, colon
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Bone loss
  • Hair loss
  • Depression

Sources of Vitamin D:

This interesting vitamin is self-developed in the body using sunlight, but as we are exposed very little of it, the body's self-generation degenerates, hence it becomes important to take oral supplements to keep the supply at competent levels.

Sunlight exposure of about 20 minutes atleast three-four times a week is enough as a natural supply, whereas taking oral medication if prescribed by the doctor is the quickest way to increase a very low Vitamin D level.

Consuming natural food products is another effective way to up get required Vitamin D levels in the body. Let's take a look at some natural Vitamin D food sources :

  • Cod liver oil
  • Salmon, Tuna and Swordfish
  • Sardines
  • Milk
  • Egg yolk
  • Beef
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Orange juice
  • Mushrooms
  • Soya milk 
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