Study shows vitamin D lowers COVID-19 risk, especially for Black people
Researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine say that sufficient vitamin D levels may lower the risk of coronavirus infection, particularly for Black people.
African Americans have been disproportionately affected by the virus and frequently suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
The study expands on an earlier report from UChicago Medicine, in which researchers found that patients with untreated vitamin D deficiency were almost twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared to patients with sufficient levels of vitamin D.
The university was not the first to make the connection between vitamin D deficiency and illnesses such as COVID-19. For years, researchers have been studying the link between vitamin D and respiratory illnesses.
In March 2020, the former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden, suggested that adequate vitamin D may potentially provide some modest protection for vulnerable populations.
Frieden also argued that vitamin D reduces the risk of respiratory infection, and can limit the risk of other viruses like the flu.
Vitamin D can be obtained from supplements or through diet, and also is produced by the body in response to exposure to sunlight.
About 40% of people in the United States are vitamin D deficient. Across the Black community, there are estimates of between 40% to 80% vitamin D deficiency.