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We read with interest Martin Kohlmeier’s article in which he highlights the need for precision nutrition (PN) for vulnerable individuals, amongst them people with darker skin tones. In the UK, a disproportionate effect of Covid-19 on BAME (Black, Asians & Minority Ethnic) has been noticed. (1)(2) With the epidemic still rampant some immediate action is needed. Vitamin D deficiency is not only high among ethnic minorities but also among the elderly. (2)(3) It has been linked to potential worse outcomes in many infectious diseases. (4) In a preprint Alipio documents a possible improvement of clinical outcomes in Covid-19 with vitamin D supplementation. (5) Ilie et al. describe association between mean vitamin D levels and COVID morbidity and mortality in 20 European countries. (3) During my clinical round on our COVID ward on 12/5/20 I found 18/23 patients Vitamin D deficient, 2 died that day, their vitamin D levels had been undetectable. We will explore this further by collecting a larger dataset. Supplementation with vitamin D up to 800 IU daily is safe and should be highly recommended to BAME people, even more so for those who are healthcare workers. Similarly, vitamin D substitution should be recommended for all healthcare workers, the over 70’s, the institutionalised, the pregnant, adolescent, under 3 years and the obese. (6) COVID-19 should be a wake-up call for the elimination of this widespread vitamin deficiency.
1: Kirby T. Evidence moun...
1: Kirby T. Evidence mounts on the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 on ethnic minorities. Lancet Respir Med. 2020;8(6):547-548. doi:10.1016/S2213-2600(20)30228-9
2. Patel JV, Chackathayil J, Hughes EA, Webster C, Lip GY, Gill PS. Vitamin D deficiency amongst minority ethnic groups in the UK: a cross sectional study. Int J Cardiol. 2013;167(5):2172-2176. doi:10.1016/j.ijcard.2012.05.081
3. Ilie PC, Stefanescu S, Smith L. The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality [published online ahead of print, 2020 May 6]. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2020;1-4. doi:10.1007/s40520-020-01570-8
4. Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL, et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ. 2017;356:i6583. Published 2017 Feb 15. doi:10.1136/bmj.i6583
5. Alipio, M. (April 9, 2020). Vitamin D Supplementation Could Possibly Improve Clinical Outcomes of Patients Infected with Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-2019).
SSRN Preprint (Accessed: 24 April 2020). DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.3571484
6. Lips P, Cashman KD, Lamberg-Allardt C, et al. Current vitamin D status in European and Middle East countries and strategies to prevent vitamin D deficiency: a position statement of the European Calcified Tissue Society. Eur J Endocrinol. 2019;180(4):P23-P54. doi:10.1530/EJE-18-0736