The Evidence: Vitamin D for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19

Vitamin D and COVID 19: The Evidence for Prevention and Treatment of Coronavirus (SARS CoV 2)

Medcram – Medical Lectures Explained Clearly (2020)

Film Review

In this interview, board certified internist Professor Roger Seheult MD explains growing research evidence that Vitamin D is effective in both prevention and treatment of Covid19.

He begins by explaining that Vitamin D, which is really a hormone rather than a vitamin, has a direct effect on mRNA transcription in many cells. This effect on white blood cells confers a major effect on immune function.

Seheult goes on to explain the role of sunlight in the skin’s production of Vtamin D and the high prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in regions with less exposure to the sun (above 35 degrees latitude in the northern hemisphere and below 35 degrees in the southern hemisphere). Dark skinned and elderly people, who produce Vitamin D less efficiently, are more prone to Vitamin D deficiency no matter where they live. Likewise people who are overweight or obese have lower Vitamin D blood levels because they tend to store the hormone in their fat cells.

People who don’t produce enough endogenous Vitamin D can also get it from specific foods (fish, egg yolks, meat) or supplements.

Seheult goes on to examine the multitude of studies related to Vitamin D’s role in protecting people against viral infections and COVID 19 specifically.

The most impressive study followed Vitamin D levels of 10,000 patients age 50-70. Subjects who were Vitamin D deficient experiencied significantly higher mortality from respiratory infections.

Seheult also cites

  • A randomized controlled Japanese study showing school children taking Vitamin D were less likely to contract influenza A.
  • A British Medical Journal meta analysis of 25 randomized control trials showing Vitamin D reduced the risk of respiratory illness.
  • Several randomized controlled studies showing that Vitamin D supplementation reduced inflammatory biochemical markers.*
  • Three early randomized Covid studies showing ICU admissions were reduced in patients who started Vitamin D on admission to hospital.

Seheult indicates that Vitamin D toxicity (manifested by hypercalcemia) is extremely rare except in patients with sarcoid and other granulomatous conditions or kidney failure.

People who don’t get enough Vitamin D from the sun (ie who are over 70, have dark skin or live too far from the equator) need a daily Vitamin D dose of 2,000-5,000 to avoid because deficient. People who are overweight need 1 1/2 times as much, while those who are obese should triple the dose.

Dr Fauci takes Vitamin D supplements.


*Another finding of these studies is the remarkable similarity between biochemical inflammatory markers found in Vitamin D deficiency and those found in Covid 19. Seheult also finds it significant that patient populations prone to high Covid mortality (dark skinned people, the obese and the elderly) are the same as those prone to Vitamin D deficiency.

Saving Your Child from an Over-Sanitized World

let-them-eat-dirt

Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child from an Over-Sanitized World

By B. Brett Finlayy and Marie-Claire Arrieta

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (2016)

Book Review

Let Them Eat Dirt is a down-to-earth parental guide to the latest research about the role of intestinal bacteria in preventing obesity, diabetes, autism, schozophrenia, depression, anxiety, asthma, eczema, allergies, autoimmune illness, inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel syndrome. The book also provides a lot of practical suggestions for parents seeking to promote healthy gut bacteria in their kids.

Most research points to the avoidance of antibiotics during pregnancy and the first few months of life as being most important in preventing the gut-relaed illnesses described above. In addition to recommending that expectant mothers take probiotics and give them to their infants, the authors also emphasize the importance of vaginal birth and breast feeding in transferring maternal gut bacteria to the infant. Where C-section can’t be avoided, they recommend inoculating a newborn with a swab from the mother’s vagina.

Let Them East Dirt also provides numerous tips on increasing the diversity of gut bacteria to maximize immunity. In infants and children, this is done by exposing them to a wide variety of foods and indulging their natural urge to get dirty and put things in their mouths. Finlay and Arrieta believe children are biologically programmed to engage in these behaviors to increase gut bacteria diversity.

In discussing the science behind their recommendations, they point out that only 100 species of bacteria cause human illness, out of a total of 5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bacterial species on the planet. They also discuss the essential role “friendly” bacteria play in training the human immune system, as well as the devastating health consequences of disrupting this process through antibiotic overuse.

The part of the book I found most helpful gives useful suggestions for ways parents can work with pediatricians to safely minimize antibiotic use in their kids.