People with higher levels of vitamin D in their bloodstreams are at a lower risk of contracting COVID-19, a new study suggests.
And levels of the vitamin appear to have a particularly strong effect on black people, who are more at-risk of both vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 than white people are.
In fact, black people with vitamin D levels between 30 and 40 ng/mL were 2.64 times more likely to test positive for COVID-19, the Chicago University researchers found.
Vitamin D – the ‘sunshine vitamin’ – plays a critical role in a healthy functioning immune system, and is primarily absorbed through the skin.
The new study can’t prove that getting enough vitamin D will protect people from coronavirus, but it does suggest that getting enough of the vitamin might help reduce the risk of contracting it – especially for black people who are nearly three times as likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19 and twice as likely to die of it.
In their study of 4,368 people in Chicago, the researchers found that those who HAD blood levels lower than 40 ng/mL were at a 7.2 percent higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19.
How much is ‘enough’ vitamin D is the subject of ongoing debate among scientists.
Most nutritionists say that someone is deficient if their blood levels fall below either 40 or 30 ng/mL.
‘These new results tell us that having vitamin D levels above those normally considered sufficient is associated with decreased risk of testing positive for COVID-19, at least in Black individuals,’ said Dr David Meltzer, chief of hospital medicine at the University of Chicago Medicine and lead author of the study.