Citizen reporter
1 minute read
4 May 2020
11:52 am

Preliminary study finds that sunshine lowers Covid-19 death rates

Citizen reporter

Countries with higher death rates also have lower vitamin D levels in their populations.

Image: iStock

South Africa’s abundant sunshine could help lower Covid-19 deaths, some international research has suggested.

The most recent study focused on vitamin D levels in different European countries.

Researchers dug through existing health literature to catalogue the average levels of vitamin D among the citizens of 20 European countries, and then compared the figures with the relative numbers of Covid-19 deaths in each country.

Statistically, they found that there was a clear correlation between the figures, where populations with lower-than-average concentrations of the vitamin also featured more deaths from the coronavirus.

The scientists from Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation Trust and the University of East Anglia in the UK feel confident there is a clear link between Covid-19 deaths and exposure to sunshine.

They have advised that people should include “vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection”.

“The most vulnerable group of the population for Covid-19 is also the one that has the most deficit in vitamin D,” they concluded.

This backs up another study which also found vitamin D may improve a person’s chance of recovery after contracting the coronavirus.

Other studies are ongoing in Europe on this question.

It’s worth pointing out that the results have not yet been peer-reviewed, but they do match other studies that also suggest healthy vitamin D levels can reduce the risk of respiratory infections such as influenza and TB, as well as childhood asthma.

Vitamin D promotes healthy bones and supports immune system functions. The human body produces vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight, but it can also be obtained from eating foods such as fatty fish, egg yolks, mushrooms and cheese.

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