The whole world is scrambling for a cure, vaccine or at least a reprieve from the coronavirus and its detrimental effects on our societies.
Israeli researchers say the sun might be the answer we’re all looking for.
Maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D, which some call the “sunshine vitamin,” can be key to avoiding severe infection altogether, and fighting it off once you have COVID-19, according to the Israeli experts.
It also means you finally have a justifiable reason to go outside.
The sun itself does not transmit vitamin D to our bodies. Rather, it is the result of a chemical reaction in our lower layers of skin. But that reaction is dependent on exposure to sunlight.
There’s been quite a bit of talk in scientific circles regarding the ability of vitamin D to help the body fight off COVID-19, so Israeli researcher Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern of Bar Ilan University decided to conduct an in-depth study.
Partnering with the Leumit Health Services, Frenkel-Morgenstern surveyed 7,807 Israelis who had been tested for the coronavirus. Among those who tested negative, she found that their vitamin D levels were in the “adequate” range. But among those who tested positive for COVID-19, she found that on average their vitamin D levels were “inadequate.” The average vitamin D level of those who went on to be hospitalized with COVID-19 was even lower.
Frenkel-Morgenstern went on to note in her study, which was published in The FEBS Journal, that the effects of vitamin D, or the lack thereof, on the body’s ability to fight off the coronavirus were much more pronounced in people aged 50 and older.
She told The Times of Israel that ironically the isolation restrictions meant to curb the spread of COVID-19 might be contributing to the virus’ survival as people avoid going outdoors. “The problem now is people stay indoors or in cars all day, not going to beaches, do not have the sun exposure,” Frenkel-Morgenstern said. “People should go to the sun, to the sea.”
A German study recently came to a similar conclusion, urging researchers to place much more importance on the role of vitamin D in ending the current pandemic.