A team of researchers at the University of East Anglia, England have found links between low levels of vitamin D and COVID-19 mortality rates across Europe, Science Alert reports.
"We believe, that we can advise Vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection," concludes the yet-to-be-peer-reviewed paper. "The most vulnerable group of population for COVID-19 is also the one that has the most deficit in vitamin D."
The research, as detailed in a preprint study uploaded to archive Research Square last month, found that levels of vitamin D among citizens of 20 countries in Europe "was strongly associated" with the mortality rates caused by COVID-19.
It's important to note, though, that correlation does not mean causation. It's simply far too early to tell if there is a causal link and if raising vitamin D levels could help people recover from the deadly virus. Simply put, it's probably too early for health practitioners to recommend vitamin supplements.
Nonetheless, demand for vitamin C and D has soared during the outbreak. Analysts however believe it's because the vast majority of people have been quarantining indoors with limited access to immunity-boosting sunlight.
But previous research could help underline an important link between the two. Previous studies have shown that raising vitamin D levels, if deficient, can reduce the risk of other common respiratory infections including influenza and tuberculosis, Science Alert points out.
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) is recommending people to take 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day "because you may not be getting enough vitamin D from sunlight if you’re indoors most of the day," according to the service's website.
"There have been some news reports about vitamin D reducing the risk of coronavirus," an NHS update on the coronavirus reads. "However, there is no evidence that this is the case."
More on the virus: EXPERTS: PEOPLE PROBABLY AREN’T ACTUALLY CATCHING COVID AGAIN
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