Article Text

other Versions

Download PDFPDF

Avoidance of vitamin D deficiency to slow the COVID-19 pandemic
  1. Martin Kohlmeier
  1. UNC Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kannapolis, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Martin Kohlmeier, UNC Nutrition Research Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kannapolis, NC 28081, USA; mkohlmeier{at}unc.edu

Abstract

Vitamin D deficiency, which impedes good immune function, is common during winter and spring in regions of high latitude. There is good evidence that vitamin D deficiency contributes to the seasonal increase of virus infections of the respiratory tract, from the common cold to influenza, and now possibly also COVID-19. This communication explores key factors that make it more likely, particularly in combination, that individuals are vitamin D deficient. These factors include old age, obesity, dark skin tone and common genetic variants that impede vitamin D status. Precision nutrition is an approach that aims to consider known personal risk factors and health circumstances to provide more effective nutrition guidance in health and disease. In regard to avoiding vitamin D deficiency, people with excess body fat, a dark skin tone or older age usually need to use a moderately dosed daily vitamin D supplement, particularly those living in a high-latitude region, getting little ultraviolet B exposure due to air pollution or staying mostly indoors. Carriers of the GC (group-specific component) rs4588 AA genotype also are more likely to become deficient. Very high-dosed supplements with more than 4000 IU vitamin D are rarely needed or justified. A state-by-state Mendelian randomisation analysis of excess COVID-19 mortality of African-Americans in the USA shows a greater disparity in northern states than in southern states. It is conceivable that vitamin D adequacy denies the virus easy footholds and thereby slows spreading of the contagion. This finding should drive home the message that vitamin D supplementation is particularly important for individuals with dark skin tones. Vitamin D deficiency, even for a few months during the winter and spring season, must be rigorously remedied because of its many adverse health impacts that include decreased life expectancy and increased mortality. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 would be an added bonus.

  • precision nutrition
  • infectious disease
  • nutrient deficiencies
  • pulmonary disease
  • dietary patterns
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.

View Full Text

Statistics from Altmetric.com

Footnotes

  • Contributors MK is the sole author of this work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement No data are available. All the data used is in the public domain and comes from the cited sources.

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.