Vitamin D most critically, and several other micronutrients (vitamins C and A and minerals selenium and zinc), confer enormous benefits to the capacity to avoid critical illness with this virus. Now, yet another study confirms that one is NINE times more likely to die of COVID19 if vitamin D deficient — defined as a serum level of 25 OH vitamin D of < 20 ng/mL. Scotland and the rest of the UK, New Zealand, and Canada seem to be getting it. And to be clear, the “scientific studies” are there — this is not speculative any longer. Finland — a place where it might be expected to find a very low communal vitamin D level — seems to have the continent’s best vitamin D levels 10 years after it ordered dairy products to be fortified and broadcast an advisory that older people needed to supplement their intake. It has had 149 Covid-19 long term care deaths and only 375 total as of 11.20.20! By anyone’s measure, that is simply astonishing. Finland has a population of ~ 5.5 M, ironically very similar to Minnesota and Wisconsin with a similar gene pool. Needless to say, they have nowhere near the same medical resources. So why would we — or ANY public health agency — not loudly broadcast the potential benefits to reduce morbidity, infection fatality rates, and need for hospitalization by doing this?
Here in Minnesota the vast majority of critically ill CV19 patients are — and have been from the beginning — from long term care facilities. Most all of these victims have been frail or medically compromised elderly. A new study from Europe shows unequivocally that vitamin D reduces their chance of dying once afflicted with CV19 by more than 30%. The amounts used were very conservative (far less than the 25 IUs/lb/day that I have recommended for years). At the latter dosing there is no demonstrable risk.
And then there is the rest of the micronutrient story. When the other — scientifically documented — micronutrients including vitamins C and A as well as the minerals, zinc and selenium, are properly attended, the results are even more impressive. Has there been a study showing that this larger combination confers “immunity from CV19”? No, but the preponderance of the evidence strongly suggests that the severity — the morbidity — is reduced in a major way. There is a Path to Resilience as I have written about in February 2020. Medical professionals, especially those in leadership positions, need to redirect their attention to this, and lives will be saved, staffing shortages abated, and economies restarted. It is not too late. A public health initiative can be started and led by our thought leaders here in Minnesota that could be a beacon for the management of the virus across the nation. This would not consume expensive resources but rather requires only more careful attendance of critical vitamin intake. The time is immediate, and I do hope our governor might see the benefit here. I would volunteer my support and consultation were he to ask.