After studying global data relating to the coronavirus pandemic, researchers and scientists have unearthed a strong correlation between Vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates of COVID-19.
They analyzed patient data from at least 10 countries, and their findings could give light to some mysteries about the virus, including why young children are unlikely to suffer from COVID-19.
Less Vitamin D equals higher COVID-19 mortality rates
The research was led by Northwestern University using data from clinics and hospitals across the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Spain, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Germany, France, and China.
They noted that some patients from countries that have high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as the United Kingdom and Spain, had lower levels of Vitamin D unlike patients in countries that were not severely affected. However, the researchers advised everyone that this does not necessarily mean that those without a known deficiency will need to start stocking up on supplements.
Vadim Backman, the lead researcher told Science Daily that "While I think it is important for people to know that vitamin D deficiency might play a role in mortality, we don't need to push vitamin D on everybody. This needs further study, and I hope our work will stimulate interest in this area. The data also may illuminate the mechanism of mortality, which, if proven, could lead to new therapeutic targets."
The team saw a significant correlation with vitamin D deficiency
Backman and his entire team have been inspired to try and examine vitamin D levels after they noticed unexplained differences in COVID-19 mortality rates from various countries. A handful of people have also theorized that these differences in age distributions in population, healthcare quality, and various strains of the coronavirus or testing rates might be the culprit. However, Backman still remains skeptical.
"None of these factors appears to play a significant role. The healthcare system in northern Italy is one of the best in the world. Differences in mortality exist even if one looks across the same age group. And, while the restrictions on testing do indeed vary, the disparities in mortality still exist even when we looked at countries or populations for which similar testing rates apply. Instead, we saw a significant correlation with vitamin D deficiency," Backman explained.
Backman also noted that people should definitely not take excessive amounts of vitamin D due to it having negative side effects on the body. This whole subject needs more research to know how and where vitamin D could actually be used most effectively when it comes to protecting ourselves from COVID-19 complications.
Ali Daneshkhah is the paper's first author while Backman is the Walter Dill Scott Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering. The research is available on medRxiv, a preprint server for health sciences according to Science Daily. Prepreinted studies have not yet been peer-reviewed.