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Vit-D in asymptomatic and critically ill Covid-19 patients and correlation (nature.com)
48 points by sandGorgon 9 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 23 comments

Interesting. One of the differences between kids and adult diets in the us is the consumption of vitamin d fortified milk.

I wonder if the prevalence of vitamin d deficiency is lower in lower in children and hence the lowered risk and transmission.

I think this is far fetched. Many viruses are much more harmful to adults than to kids, e.g. measles.

Further, among the adults who have a bad case of COVID-19, the vast majority had some relatively serious underlying condition (which is often correlated with age, but it seems to be the underlying condition, rather than the age, that is a better predictor of bad outcomes).

Additionally: there are many countries in which D-fortified milk (and even milk consumption among kids) is not nearly as common as in the US, but the age distribution of bad COVID outcomes seems to not change.

A glass of fortified milk (only full-fat milk is commonly fortified, this is something parents tend to avoid due to the FDA fat paranoia) is only 10% of vitamin D needed per day. And it's not clear if that dose is actually sufficient even in the unlikely event that 10 glasses of milk are consumed. I, for example, take 2000 IU of vitamin D daily and my bloodwork shows vitamin D smack dab in the middle of the "normal" range. According to Kaiser Permanente this "indicates supplementation", which tells me that this "normal" vitamin D is actually not normal at all, and most people are deficient. Coincidentally I do believe I had COVID in March of this year. My only symptom was the loss of smell and taste for a couple of days. Not even a fever. I didn't pay much attention to it, since these symptoms weren't known at the time.

This is anecdata though, so it doesn't really mean anything.

It would be interesting to cross reference covid morbidity with lactose intolerance (ie. people likely to avoid milk).

Here in Sweden it's obligatory (by law)[1] to fortify some foods (dairy products) with vitamin D. Both adults and children are notorious dairy consumers. So I don't think that assumption holds.

[1] https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=&sl=sv&tl=en&u=htt...

There are plenty of cofounders to consider, the biggest one might be the transition from innate to adaptive immunity (the latter potentially mistriggering as a cytokine storm).

Robert Gallo presented [1] an interesting idea to keep the innate system boosted by taking extra doses of a vaccine (he proposes using OPV). My pet corollary to Gallo's idea is that kids may have extended protection by having been more recently vaccinated (than adults).

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHvV81ZB-fk

Seems like a fine paper, apart from the terrible editing, which is Nature's fault and not the authors'.

Nature must have no professional editors on staff. What's the point of paying to publish there if you don't get the professional services? And what the hell are they doing?

Just publish somewhere that has always made all papers free to access and publish. Especially for COVID-19 research. We've always needed better and it's just painfully obvious now.

This was published in an open-access journal called "Scientific Reports", one of many Nature-run-but-not-Nature journals currently diluting their brand. I'm not sure if the domain name confusion is deliberate or not.


I am aware. Scientific reports is supposed to have a professional editorial process, and is rather expensive to publish in. Its entire premise is to capitalise on the Nature brand whilst riding the open access train. I think it's a big bag of crap personally. You're paying for the reputation. Without any editorial standards the reputation will inevitably decline.

There is a ten year difference between the average age of the two groups. There's also severe gender imbalance and the authors are not clear about the group that "does not meet inclusion criterion" in their diagram.

Obesity lowers serum concentrations of Vitamin-D. We know obesity is strongly correlated with severe covid. So not really that interesting of a correlation IMO.

Yes, D is fat-soluble, so it won't increase much in serum levels until the fat is saturated with it.

But your criticism doesn't necessarily check out as the average BMI of group B was actually lower than that of group A.

See page 4 of the PDF [1].

[1]: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-77093-z.pdf

Any correlation where one can change one of the variables by taking a cheap, safe pill is interesting, unless we can show which way the causality goes.

Well... taking that cheap pill in a blind RCT would show the arrow of causality.

People have known about this correlation for months now. If it were really a thing, clinicians would be publishing case studies like crazy of successful treatment with vitamin-D. I'm not seeing that in the literature... so I doubt it will pan out.

I also wouldn't expect much from giving D3 in a hospital setting since it takes time for D3 supplementation to affect serum levels.

That's why the MATH+ protocol [1] recommends Calcifediol or Cholecalciferol. According to their own review [2] the protocol reduces hospital mortality from 20-30% to about 5%.

[1]: https://covid19criticalcare.com/math-hospital-treatment/pdf-...

[2]: https://covid19criticalcare.com/math-hospital-treatment/scie...

Tangential question: How long does it take exposure to sunlight to affect serum levels?

Depends on latitude, season, and melanin, as I understand it

If you are asymptomatic, why would you be a patient?

Because you tested positive.

Some companies are betting that the cure to Covid is literally just Vitamin D. Vitamin D is going to be the cure to this thing not a vaccine. The word just hasn't gotten out yet. Just wait till 2021, you will see this everywhere.

"Being deficient in essential vitamins makes you more susceptible to a virus" and "taking this vitamin will cure you of an active infection" are two _very_ different things.

But vitamin D isn't the cure though

Citation desperately needed.

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