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Vitamin D deficiency could be harmful to COVID-19 patients

Date: 09 May 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

The recent research by scientists stated that low levels of vitamin D can be one of the reasons behind the deaths of COVID-19 patients. 

 

Background

The research does not claim that Vitamin D can prevent people from contracting the virus, but it could be helpful in reducing complications and preventing death in some of the infected patients.

 

Details

  • The researchers noticed that when compared with patients from less affected countries, COVID-19 patients in countries like Italy, Spain and the UK, which have high COVID-19 mortality rates, had low levels of vitamin D in their body.

  • The research found that low vitamin D levels in the body can lead to an over-reactive immune system in the body.

  • Vitamin D not only enhances the inherent immunity of the body but also prevents the immune system from getting dangerously overactive.

  • When the immune system gets overactive, it gives rise to an inflammatory response, known as the cytokine storm, which is one of the reasons for death in COVID-19 patients.

                Cytokine storm

  • Generally, when a foreign microorganism enters the body, the immune system of the body gets activated and deploys the cytokines (inflammatory cells) to fight against the virus. This fight causes slight inflammation in that localised area.

  • But when the immune system gets hyperactive, the cytokines are released in a huge amount leading to hyperinflammation. This is called a cytokine storm which causes cell death, eventually leading to organ damage and even death in some critical patients.

  • It has been reported that in the case of COVID-19 patients, the cytokine storm is mostly seen in the lungs, which leads to respiratory failure.