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The Most Interesting Vitamin D Study of 2020

On August 29th, 2020, a study from Spain was published inThe Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, entitled “Effect of Calcifediol Treatment and best available therapy versus best available therapy on intensive care unit admission and mortality among patients hospitalized for Covid-19: A pilot randomized clinical study”.

Why is this study important?

It’s the first clinical evidence for the use of vitamin D to treat Covid-19. While it was called a pilot study because the sample size is small, it provides solid evidence that low vitamin D3 status increases the risk of Covid-19 positive diagnosis, greater severity, and mortality. 

How was the study structured?

Researchers randomly allocated 76 patients into 2 groups: 50 patients who would be given vitamin D and 26 patients who were not. All patients received the best available standard of care at that time, which was hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin. 

What were the results?

Of the control group (no vitamin D given), 13 out of 26 patients (50%) were admitted to ICU, and two died in the end. In the vitamin D group, only 1 out of 50 (2%) required ICU admission, and none died.

These results were statistically significant, equating to a 93% reduction in odds of ICU admission after adjusting for possible confounders (e.g., hypertension). 

Is this study supported by previous research?

Previous studies have found that those with vitamin D deficiency had a 1.77x increased risk of testing positive for Covid-19 than those with sufficient levels. In another study published in May 2020, those who tested positive for Covid-19 had significantly lower vitamin D3 levels than those who tested negative

What does this mean for me?

One of the most inexpensive ways we can protect ourselves from Covid-19 (and other coronaviruses) is to ensure we have sufficient vitamin D levels. 

There are many ways to increase our vitamin D levels, here are just a few that we like to take advantage of -

Sunlight is the best option, however, in the winter months, it is not possible to get sufficient exposure to the sun.

Seafood - fatty fish and seafood are among the richest natural sources of vitamin D, with the added benefit of being rich in omega-3 fatty acids. 

Egg yolks -  especially those sourced from free-range, farm-raised chickens. An extremely nutritious, tasty and a great source of vitamin D. 

Mushrooms - a completely plant-based source of vitamin D. Like humans, mushrooms can make their own vitamin D through exposure to UV light. 

Cod Liver Oil - a tablespoon of cod liver oil contains 1360 IU of vitamin D. For those who don’t like the taste, there are flavoured options out there.

Supplements - In addition to getting enough exposure to sunlight and eating foods rich in vitamin D, taking a vitamin D supplement may be the best way to get your vitamin D levels up. There are two main biological forms of vitamin D: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Typically D2 comes from plants and D3 from animals, with research suggesting that D3 may be significantly more effective at raising and maintaining overall vitamin D levels than D2, so a supplement with this form may help maintain sufficient vitamin D levels in the body.

The other important thing to note about supplementing Vitamin D is that it should be taken with Vitamins K2 and A, and ideally bio-available forms of Magnesium as well. This ensures optimal absorption and utilization of vitamin D.

Our Muscle Protocol (which includes Magnesium Balance and Vitamin D-K2 Balance), can be found here.

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