We know that the number of deaths from COVID-19 is higher in some countries than in others. Many factors impact this, including differences in general health, quality of healthcare, socioeconomic status, and age. One overlooked factor that could influence COVID-19 is vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for bone growth. Low levels of vitamin D are also associated with a higher risk of infection; especially nose and throat infections. In fact, COVID-19 started to spread in the northern hemisphere at the end of winter, when levels of Vitamin D are at their lowest. Countries in the northern hemisphere have the most cases and the highest death rate. Low death rates in Nordic countries are an exception, possibly because people in these countries get lots of Vitamin D through widespread enrichment of foods. Additionally, black and minority ethnic people—who are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency because they have darker skin—seem to be more negatively affected by COVID-19 than white people. Some experts recommend that people take vitamin D supplements during this COVID-19 pandemic. At the very least, vitamin D supplements should be given to elderly people in care homes unless there is an extremely good reason not to do so. More research is currently in process.
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