Researchers in Israel have discovered that people with a vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop severe COVID-19 symptoms if they catch the virus.
The study is based on Israel’s first two pre-vaccine waves of coronavirus, and found that patients who had low levels of vitamin D were 14 times more likely to develop a severe case of COVID-19 than those with sufficient vitamin D levels. Patients’ vitamin D levels are measured as a part of routine intake at Galilee Hospital, where the research was conducted.
Amiel Dror, MD, the lead study author and a doctor at Galilee Medical Center, told The Times of Israel, “We found it remarkable, and striking, to see the difference in the chances of becoming a severe patient when you are lacking in vitamin D compared to when you’re not.”
“What we’re seeing when vitamin D helps people with COVID infections is a result of its effectiveness in bolstering the immune systems to deal with viral pathogens that attack the respiratory system,” he added.
The researchers say the omicron variant is no different from previous strains, and vitamin D levels can play a role in how severe an omicron infection can get. They also warn that vitamin D and other supplements are not an alternative to vaccination, but may help in the fight against COVID-19.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: YALE MEDICINE
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