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In recent months, there have been a number of observational studies in hospitals in Israel and around the world that have shown that vitamin D is essential for strengthening the immune system and helping the respiratory system to deal with infections. Now, a large-scale and comprehensive Israeli study by Bar Ilan University and Leumit Health Services has found that low levels of vitamin D in the blood are associated with an increased risk of contracting Covid-19.
The study, published in the scientific journal FEBS, examined 7,807 people, of whom 782 (10.1%) were diagnosed as positive for Covid-19. The study found that the average level of vitamin D in the blood among patients infected with the virus was significantly lower than in those who were not infected. The results of the study showed that those who were deficient were 1.45 times more likely to be infected with Covid-19, and twice as likely to be hospitalized, compared to those with normal vitamin D levels. It was also found that being over 50 was another significant factor in severe illness.
Another interesting finding that emerged was that chronic conditions such as dementia, cardiovascular disease, and chronic lung disease, which were considered to be risk factors in previous studies, were not found in this study as a factor that increases the rate of infection. That is, it was the lack of normal levels of vitamin D that was found to increase the chance of getting sick.
Accordingly, the results of the study showed that there is a chance that high levels of vitamin D are a protective factor against Covid and its complications. Following this, the researchers issued a recommendation mainly to older people to take a vitamin D supplement.
Read more about the importance of vitamin D for the elderly >> (Go to our other article)
Vitamin D is considered one of the most essential vitamins for the human body. It plays a key role in maintaining the structure and strength of bones, teeth and muscles. It strengthens the activity of the immune system, and is vital for proper nerve function. It also helps to metabolize sugars, it is essential for the absorption of vitamins and minerals, and there is evidence that it contributes to reducing the risk of respiratory infections.
Vitamin D deficiency is considered a major, long-standing public health problem in all age groups throughout the world.
Data from health organizations in Israel and around the world show that there are several specific groups that are liable to develop vitamin D deficiency: patients with diseases in which there are problems absorbing or producing the vitamin, breastfed babies, populations that are not exposed to the sun due to medical restrictions, and elderly people who mainly stay at home. Groups that customarily wear long clothing, and people who work all day long in offices or at home may also become deficient.
The Ministry of Health has recently issued clear guidelines with a recommendation to take vitamin D at a dose of 1000-800 IU per day, due to the lack of exposure to sunlight during the lockdown and the recent period when people have rarely been leaving the house.
In conclusion, the researchers participating in the new study believe that it is of great clinical significance. At the same time, they emphasize that although this is a large, population-based epidemiological study, it does not constitute a randomized clinical trial that could establish a causal link between the administration of vitamin D and prevention of Covid infection.
For the full research results:
Merzon, Eugene, et al. "Low plasma 25 (OH) vitamin D level is associated with increased risk of COVID‐19 infection: an Israeli population‐based study." The FEBS Journal (2020).