Before the new coronavirus pandemic broke out, scientists had already observed the protective role of vitamin D on the respiratory tract. Therefore, given its ability to combat respiratory tract infections, it was believed that vitamin D could help prevent and treat COVID-19 infection. Hence, in the last year, a lot of research has been dedicated to the attempt to understand the possible effectiveness of vitamin D as a further ally against the virus. Just a few days ago, a review took stock of the situation on what has been observed so far on the antiviral action of vitamin D, both as a prevention and as a treatment. The research was published in the journal Nutrients by a team from Heidelberg University, Germany (Brenner, Nutrients, 2021).
Several studies have confirmed the preventive action of vitamin D against new coronavirus infection. In particular, what has been observed is that those with plasmatic vitamin D values ??below 20 ng / mL, which is the limit value below which we speak of vitamin deficiency, has up to 54% higher probability to be tested positive for the virus with respect to those with values ??above 30 ng / mL. But be careful, this does not mean that those with normal vitamin D values ??cannot contract the virus, but, as the scientists in the study also explain, normal vitamin D values ??are more likely to help the immune system cope with the threat and get rid of the virus faster.
But vitamin D has not only a preventive action. From what emerges from scientific studies, vitamin D is also beneficial in the case of an infection already in progress, helping to prevent severe complications. It was observed that, out of 185 patients diagnosed with COVID-19, those with normal vitamin D values ??also had an 80% lower probability to have to resort to intensive care than those with a vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D, in addition to being antiviral and supporting the immune system, is also beneficial for the bones. In fact, in the elderly, who are one of the groups most at risk of deficiency of this vitamin, supplementing with vitamin D has made it possible to reduce the risk of fracture of the pelvis. Therefore, it is important to ensure a diet that can guarantee a supply of vitamin D, to expose yourself to the sun with the necessary precautions and, in case of deficiency and under medical supervision, also take supplements. In any case, as underlined by the authors of the review themselves, the vitamin must be seen as a further ally in the fight against the new coronavirus, to complement and not replace measures of distancing and hygiene.