In a new study from Purdue University, researchers found how vitamin D functions to reduce inflammation caused by immune cells that might be relevant to the responses during severe COVID-19.
They found vitamin D reduces inflammation caused by T cells. These are important cells of the immune system and implicated as part of the immune response to the infection causing COVID-19.
Previous studies have shown vitamin D’s ability to reduce the inflammation caused by T cells— inflamed cells in the lung characteristic of the most severe and dangerous cases of COVID-19.
But as important as understanding that a drug works is understanding the how and the why.
This is both to maximize benefit and minimize harm (such as preventing people from eating livestock dewormer or injecting household cleaners into their veins) as well as to pave the way for future treatments.
In the study, the team analyzed individual lung cells from eight people with COVID—something only possible because of Kazemian’s experience with gene sequencing and data mining.
They found that in the lung cells of people with COVID, part of the immune response was going into overdrive, exacerbating lung inflammation.
In normal infections, Th1 cells, a subset of T cells, go through a pro-inflammatory phase. The pro-inflammatory phase clears the infection, and then the system shuts down and goes to the anti-inflammatory phase.
Vitamin D helps to speed up this transition from pro-inflammatory to the anti-inflammatory phase of the T cells.
In patients with COVID-19, the pro-inflammatory phase of the Th1 cells seems not switched off, possibly because the patients didn’t have enough vitamin D in their system or because something about the cell’s response to vitamin D was abnormal.
In that case, the researchers posit, adding vitamin D to existing treatments in the form of a prescribed highly concentrated intravenous metabolite may further help people recovery from COVID infections, though they have not tested this theory.
The team says they found that vitamin D has the potential to reduce inflammation in the test tube. The results of the experiments need to be tested in clinical trials in actual patients.
If you care about vitamins, please read studies about vitamin D: important for your overall health, and may even prevent COVID-19 and findings of vitamin D3, omega-3 fatty acids cannot prevent blinding eye disease in older people.
For more information about vitamins and your health please see recent studies about these 2 vitamins may reduce your risk for Parkinson’s disease and results showing that this vitamin may protect you from vision loss.
The study is published in Nature Immunology. One author of the study is Majid Kazemian.
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