A Spanish study found giving supplemental vitamin D3 to hospitalized patients with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 reduced ICU admissions by 82% and mortality by 64 percent.Vitamin D plays an important role in most diseases, including infectious disease, which is why from the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I suspected that optimizing vitamin D levels among the general population would significantly lower COVID-19 incidence and death.
Vitamin D3 Reduces COVID Infection and MortalityA now-retracted, preprint Spanish study found that giving supplemental vitamin D3 (calcifediol) to hospitalized patients with PCR-confirmed COVID-19 reduced ICU admissions by 82% and mortality by 64%. People who already had higher vitamin D at baseline were 60% less likely to die.
Another study was published in June 2021. In this study, researchers concluded that “vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 infection and mortality across a wide range of countries.”
Renewed Calls for Vitamin D RecommendationsIn response to the now-retracted study, British MP David Davis tweeted that hospitals should consider giving vitamin D3 to every COVID patient in every hospital in the temperate latitudes. Since other, peer-reviewed, studies like the ones I mentioned above support higher vitamin D levels being connected to a better chance of survival from COVID, it seems reasonable that Davis’ suggestion is not out of line, regardless of the one retracted article.
Many others are also calling for official vitamin D recommendations to be issued by their governments. Among them is Emer Higgins, a member of the Irish political party Fine Gael, who called on the Irish health minister, Stephen Donnelly, to include vitamin D supplementation in its “Living with COVID-19” strategy, slated for launch at the end of February 2021.
Low Vitamin D Linked to COVID-19 Outbreaks and SeverityAnother study published in the journal Scientific Reports confirmed vitamin D is a contributing factor to COVID-19 outbreaks and infection severity. According to the authors, the surges in daily positive test results during the fall of 2020 in 18 European countries linearly correlate with latitude, and hence sun exposure and vitamin D levels. They point out that:
"The country surge date corresponds to the time when its sun UV daily dose drops below ≈ 34% of that of 0° latitude. Introducing reported seasonal blood 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration variation into the reported link between acute respiratory tract infection risk and 25(OH)D concentration quantitatively explains the surge dynamics ...
Vitamin D Is Crucial for Optimal T Cell ResponsesOne of the reasons why vitamin D is so important against COVID-19 has to do with its influence on T cell responses. Animal research published in 2014 explained how vitamin D receptor signals regulate T cell responses and therefore play an important role in your body's defense against viral and bacterial infections.
“Strong antibody response correlates with more severe clinical disease while T-cell response is correlated with less severe disease.”What's more, according to a December 11, 2020, paper in the journal Vaccine: X, high-quality T cell response actually appears to be far more important than antibodies when it comes to providing protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 specifically:
"The first SARS-CoV-2 vaccine(s) will likely be licensed based on neutralizing antibodies in Phase 2 trials, but there are significant concerns about using antibody response in coronavirus infections as a sole metric of protective immunity.
- Types 229E, NL63, OC43 and KHU1 are quite common and cause mild to moderate respiratory infections such as the common cold.
- SARS-CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus), associated with severe respiratory illness.
- MERS-CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus) which, like SARS, causes more severe respiratory infections than the four common coronaviruses.
Understanding the Role of EpitopesWhat do they mean by "epitopes associated with SARS-CoV2 have been identified on CD4 and CD8 T-cells"? Epitopes are sites on the virus that allow antibodies or cell receptors in your immune system to recognize it. This is why epitopes are also referred to as "antigenic determinants," as they are the part that is recognized by an antibody, B-cell receptor or T-cell receptor.
Most antigens — substances that bind specifically to an antibody or a T-cell receptor — have several different epitopes, which allow it to be recognized by several different antibodies. Importantly, some epitopes can cause autoimmunological pathogenic priming if you've been previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 or exposed via a COVID-19 vaccine.
In other words, if you've had the infection once, and get reinfected (either by SARS-CoV-2 or a sufficiently similar coronavirus), the second bout has the potential to be more severe than the first. Similarly, if you get vaccinated and are then infected with SARS-CoV-2, your infection may be more severe than had you not been vaccinated.
For this reason, "these epitopes should be excluded from vaccines under development to minimize autoimmunity due to risk of pathogenic priming," a recent paper in the Journal of Translational Autoimmunity warns.
Natural SARS-CoV-2 Infection Induces Broad Epitope CoverageThe authors of the Vaccine: X paper point out that while most COVID-19 gene therapy "vaccines" focus on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein as a natural antigen, "natural infection by SARS-CoV-2 induces broad epitope coverage, cross-reactive with other betacoronaviruses."
Indeed, this has been demonstrated in a number of studies, including a Singaporean study that found common colds caused by the betacoronaviruses OC43 and HKU1 might make you more resistant to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and that the resulting immunity might last as long as 17 years.
Vitamin D Speeds Viral ClearanceOther research, published in November 2020 in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, shows oral vitamin D supplementation also helps speed up SARS-CoV-2 viral clearance. This study included only asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic SARS-CoV-2-positive individuals who also had vitamin D deficiency (a vitamin D blood level below 20 ng/mL).
Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 60,000 IUs of oral cholecalciferol (nano-liquid droplets) or a placebo for seven days. The target blood level was 50 ng/mL. Anyone who had not achieved a blood level of 50 ng/mL after the first seven days continued to receive the supplement until they reached the target level.
"Forty SARS-CoV-2 RNA positive individuals were randomized to intervention (n=16) or control (n=24) group. Baseline serum 25(OH)D was 8.6 and 9.54 ng/mL, in the intervention and control group, respectively.
More Evidence Vitamin D Impacts COVID-19If you haven't already gone to the free website I created to educate the world about vitamin D, please do now. It's www.stopcovidcold.com. You can download the free condensed version of the paper I had published last year that is easier to read and full of graphics to illustrate the information.
As noted in that paper, dark skin color, increased age, preexisting chronic conditions and vitamin D deficiency are all features of severe COVID disease and, of these, vitamin D deficiency is the only factor that is readily and easily modifiable.
You may be able to reverse chronic disease, but that typically takes time. Optimizing your vitamin D, on the other hand, can be achieved in just a few weeks, thereby significantly lowering your risk of severe COVID-19.
- Reducing the survival and replication of viruses
- Reducing inflammatory cytokine production
- Maintaining endothelial integrity — Endothelial dysfunction contributes to vascular inflammation and impaired blood clotting, two hallmarks of severe COVID-19
- Increasing angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) concentrations, which prevents the virus from entering cells via the ACE2 receptor — ACE2 is downregulated by SARS-CoV-2 infection, and by increasing ACE2, you also avoid excessive accumulation of angiotensin II, a peptide hormone known to increase the severity of COVID-19
- Boosts your overall immune function by modulating your innate and adaptive immune responses
- Reduces respiratory distress
- Improves overall lung function
- Helps produce surfactants in your lungs that aid in fluid clearance
- Lowers your risk of comorbidities associated with poor COVID-19 prognosis, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease