In just a few days, several published scientific papers appeared on the role of vitamin D in protection against SARS-CoV-2 virus infection and the association of vitamin D concentration with the mortality rate from COVID-19 disease.
One of the most interesting is the work of a group of scientists who pointed to a significantly lower mortality and morbidity rate in countries south of the 35th parallel, and it is already known that vitamin D deficiency in countries with a geographical position below the 40th parallel is significantly lower than countries located in the northern hemisphere.
A few days ago, the first scientific paper appeared, which, based on previous data, compared the mortality rate due to COVID-19 and the concentration of vitamin D in the blood in different countries. Although the work has not yet been reviewed, it is worth our attention because it comes from a group of authors from the UK’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation Trust and the University of East Anglia. Like many scientists in this field, this group of authors started from the clues and hypotheses available in advance and hypothesized that vitamin D plays a protective role in SARS-CoV-2 infection.
An important link in the protective effect of vitamin D on COVID-19 is angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), which is found on the outer surface or outside the cell membrane of the cells of the lungs, arteries, heart, kidneys and intestines.
ACE2 plays an important role in regulating blood pressure. Earlier studies have linked higher ACE2 values and better outcomes in COVID-19 patients. In the lungs, ACE2 protects against acute lung injury, and this factor is probably also associated with a significantly higher number of more severe forms and higher mortality among patients suffering from hypertension in addition to COVID-19. The active form of vitamin D has a strong effect on ACE2 and is considered to be one of the essential effects on protection against SARS-CoV-2, in addition to its known immunomodulatory and anti-infective effects.
Vitamin D deficiency is not inevitable, even in the winter months. It is necessary to pay attention to the intake of foods that naturally contain or are enriched with vitamin D, like some margarine spreads. Although few in number, there are foods that contain significant amounts of vitamin D. For example, 100 grams of mackerel contains as much as 700 IU or 17.5 mcg of vitamin D, which is twice as much as the basic daily needs. One hundred grams of canned sardines will provide approximately the basic daily amount of vitamin D needed, and 100 grams of shiitake mushrooms will provide approximately 50% of the needs. The same amount, 50% of daily needs are provided by some enriched margarine spreads with vitamin D in the recommended portion of 25 g.