Vitamin D and its Correlation to Covid-19

Vitamin D and its Correlation to Covid-19

Wednesday, June 3, 2020
Written by: Gabriela Cotne

Crystalline vitamin D2 (C28H44O, CAS Reg. No. 50-14-6), also known as ergocalciferol, is the chemical 9,10-seco(5Z,7E,22E)-5,7,10(19),22-ergostatetraen-3-ol. The ingredient is produced by ultraviolet irradiation of ergosterol isolated from yeast and related fungi and is purified by crystallization as described in 21 CFR 184.1950(1).

Vitamin D3 occurs in and is isolated from, fish liver oils. It is also manufactured by ultraviolet irradiation of 7-dehydrocholesterol produced from cholesterol. It is purified by crystallization. Vitamin D3 is the vitamin D form that is produced endogenously in humans through sunlight activation of 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin as described in 21 CFR 184.1950(2).

Vitamin D is a hormone precursor produced by our own body with the help of sunlight which has an important role in adaptive immunity and cellular differentiation, maturation, and proliferation of several immune cells. Reduced levels of vitamin D in calves were positioned as the main cause of bovine coronavirus infection in the past. Therefore, it seems plausible that the use of vitamin D as a nutritional ergogenic aid could be a potential intervention to fight against COVID-19 infected patients which remain asymptomatic or which have non-severe and severe symptoms.

Skin gets vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. The vitamin is essential for bone growth and strength as it helps in the intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and regulates the immune response of white blood cells by preventing them from releasing too many inflammatory cytokines. Excess of cytokines can lead to cytokine storm, which is a complication associated with COVID-19. Cytokine storm is an acute immune reaction that makes the body destroy its own cells and tissues along with the virus. Cytokines are a broad and loose category of small proteins (~5–20 kDa) important in cell signaling. Cytokines are peptides and cannot cross the lipid bilayer of cells to enter the cytoplasm. Cytokines have been shown to be involved in autocrine, paracrine, and endocrine signaling as immunomodulating agents.

A multitude of studies have been done at Northwestern University where it appears that preliminary results point to have a strong correlation between Vitamin D and COVID-19. Another study from Anglia Ruskin University, U.K. found an association between low averages levels of vitamin D and a high number of COVID-19 cases in European Countries. In conclusion, it appears that regular physical activity and adequate vitamin D levels would probably have the most scientific evidence to increase resistance to COVID-19 infection.