A vitamin that makes the lung lining stronger against respiratory infection and prevents COVID-19.
Vitamin D can help combat respiratory infections including COVID-19, pneumonia and influenza, a study reveals.
Several clinical trials have suggested that individuals with vitamin D deficiency are 5 times more likely to experience severe COVID-19 infection, hospitalization, and death.
Some studies have also found a strong association between higher serum levels of vitamin D and reduced likelihood of infection.
→ Enjoying this article? You can get FREE email updates with more articles like this from PsyBlog by clicking here.
This study takes these further, providing evidence that higher vitamin D supplementation could help preventing respiratory infections.
The researchers observed that treatment with 50 nmol/L calcitriol, an active form of vitamin D, enhanced airway barrier function.
Calcitriol makes the lung lining stronger, reducing fluid leaks and lowering the inflammatory response to cell injury from bacteria, viruses, or toxic compounds.
This means the vitamin helps fend off viral or bacterial infections responsible for respiratory illnesses such as COVID pneumonia.
Professor James Mullin, the study’s senior author, said:
“Your body is mostly sacs and tubes.
If their linings are in good shape, you’re in good shape.
If they’re leaking and fail to provide a proper barrier, it’s a problem.
When you have a respiratory infection, that means the barrier in your lungs is leaking.
Our research gives evidence that vitamin D strengthens the barrier function of the lung lining, likely helping to prevent or stop an infection.”
For this study, the human lung tissue samples were examined.
They noticed that treatment with 50 nM calcitriol for 48 hours greatly improved barrier function of bronchial epithelial cells and decreased proinflammatory responses.
This indicates the potential effects of vitamin D supplementation on preventing cytokine storms in COVID-19 patients.
The inflammation caused by COVID-19 is known as a ‘cytokine storm’.
The ‘storm’ is an overaction of the immune system to try and kill the virus.
Professor Mullin said:
“The benefits, however, are so clear and the risks so minimal that we believe physicians should be recommending supplemental vitamin D right away.
Cytokine storms, where the body’s immune response kicks into overdrive and can result in severe disease and death in COVID, compromise the body’s airway barrier function.
We already know from past studies that vitamin D blunts cytokine storms in cases of flu.
In cases of COVID-19, vitamin D therapy may allow time for a patient’s own immune defenses to kick in before it’s too late.”
According to one study, adequate levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (30 nanogram per millilitre) protect patients with COVID-19 against complications and death, as well as reducing the risk of getting ill by a large amount.
About the author
The study was published in Physiological Reports (Rybakovsky et al., 2023).
Hello, and welcome to PsyBlog. Thanks for dropping by.
This site is all about scientific research into how the mind works.
It’s mostly written by psychologist and author, Dr Jeremy Dean.
I try to dig up fascinating studies that tell us something about what it means to be human.