Despite difficulties in comparing data across nations, mortality from Covid-19 is clearly higher in some countries than others.
Many factors could have a role in this disparity, including differences in proportion of elderly people in a population, general health, accessibility and quality of health care, and socioeconomic status.
One mostly overlooked fact that could influence outcome of Covid-19 is the relative vitamin D status of the population.
Because people are advised to stay at home as much as possible, the health authorities of Great Britain have recommended that people take vitamin D supplements on regular basis during the entire period of this pandemic.
Vitamin D supplementation could be especially important for older people as they are at higher risk of Covid-19 and of vitamin D deficiency. Additionally, dark complexion and minority black ethnic people who are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency are suspected to be worse affected than white people by Covid-19.
A role of vitamin D in the response to Covid-19 could be further highlighted by the findings that vitamin D promotes a healthy respiratory system, making infection with the virus and development of Covid-19 symptoms less likely.
7 factors that can undermine your Vitamin D levels
1. The latitude where you live: At higher latitudes, the amount of vitamin D-producing UVB light reaching the earth’s surface goes down in the winter.
2. Skin colour: Dark-skinned people tend to require more UVB exposure than light-skinned people to generate the same amount of vitamin D.
3. Skin temperature: Warm skin is a more efficient producer of vitamin D than cool skin. So, on a sunny, hot summer day, you’ll make more vitamin D than on a cool day.
4. Your weight: People who are obese tend to have lower blood vitamin D levels. Vitamin D accumulates in excess fat tissues but is not easily available for use by the body when needed. Higher doses of vitamin D supplementation may be needed to achieve a desirable blood level. Conversely, blood levels of vitamin D rise when obese people lose weight.
5. Your age: Older people are less efficient vitamin D producers than younger people.
6. Gut health: Stomach juices, pancreatic secretions, bile, the integrity of the intestine wall all have some influence on how much of the vitamin is absorbed. Therefore, conditions that affect the gut and digestion can reduce vitamin D absorption. People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery need to check their levels regularly.
7. Liver, kidney health: Some types of liver and kidney diseases can reduce absorption of vitamin D.