In a new study, researchers found that when it comes to COVID-19, having vitamin D levels above those traditionally considered sufficient may lower the risk of infection.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Chicago Medicine.
In the study, the team examined the link between vitamin D levels and the likelihood of testing positive for COVID-19.
They looked at data from over 3,000 patients at UChicago Medicine who had had their vitamin D levels tested within 14 days before a COVID-19 test.
While levels of 30 ng/ml or more are usually considered “sufficient,” the team found that people who had levels of 30 to 40 ng/ml had a 2.64 times higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19 than people with levels of 40 ng/ml or greater.
The research team is now recruiting participants for two separate clinical trials testing the efficacy of vitamin D supplements for preventing COVID-19.
This research is an expansion of an earlier study showing that a vitamin D deficiency (less than 20 ng/ml) may raise the risk of testing positive for COVID-19.
A separate study recently found that over 80% of patients diagnosed with COVID-19 were vitamin D deficient.
These new results suggest that having vitamin D levels above those normally considered sufficient is linked to a decreased risk of testing positive for COVID-19.
Vitamin D can be obtained through diet or supplements, or produced by the body in response to the exposure of the skin to sunlight.
Most individuals, especially people with darker skin, have lower levels of vitamin D; roughly half of the world’s population has levels below 30ng/ml.
Lifeguards, surfers, those are the kinds of folks who tend to have more than sufficient vitamin D levels. Most people living in Chicago in the winter are going to have levels that are well below that.
While vitamin D supplements are relatively safe to take, excessive consumption of vitamin D supplements is associated with hypercalcemia, a condition in which calcium builds up in the bloodstream and causes nausea, vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination.
If left unchecked, it can further lead to bone pain and kidney stones.
The study is published in JAMA Network Open. One author of the study is David Meltzer, MD, Ph.D.
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