As Study Links Lack of Vitamin D to COVID Risk,
Bans on Outdoor Activities Look More Dangerous Than Ever A new study showing higher levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream have been linked with resistance to being infected with COVID-19 casts serious doubt on the strict lockdown orders some states implemented in the spring. One of the main ways the body creates vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight. These two facts make the stay at home orders/strict lockdowns, including the closure of beaches implemented in some states like California, New Jersey, and Florida look all the more misguided. Remember the arrests of people going to the beach and playing ball with their kids in a park? Common sense told us that being out in the sunlight and physical activity are good for the body’s immune system. Now, science backs up the beneficial effects of being outside in relation to the coronavirus. A study led by Dr. Michael F. Holick, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics and molecular medicine at Boston University Medical Campus, shows a “strong correlation” between higher vitamin D levels in the blood and lower positivity rates for COVID-19. “We evaluated more than 190,000 blood samples from patients of all ethnicities and ages infected with COVID in all 50 states,” Holick said in a news release. “We observed that the higher that the patient’s blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D was, up to 55 ng/mL [nanograms per milliliter] lower was their risk of being infected with the coronavirus.” Those found to be vitamin D deficient (less than 20 ng/mL) had a 54 percent higher COVID-19 positivity rate compared to those who were vitamin D sufficient, with at least 30 ng/mL, the news release stated. The medical group the Endocrine Society and related organizations noted in a July joint guidance statement that one of the best sources of vitamin D is spending 15-30 minutes in the sun. “For those unable to spend at least 15-30 minutes with direct sun exposure each day, the easiest way to acquire vitamin D is through food supplemented with vitamin D and/or vitamin D nutritional supplements,” the statement read. “Most adults 19 years and older should obtain between 400-1000 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D daily from food and/or with supplements (ideal intake depends on age and sex),” the group further stated. Vitamin D production isn’t the only benefit of being outdoors during the coronavirus pandemic. Studies suggest it is more difficult to spread COVID-19 outside than in an indoor environment. One study from Japan released in the spring found the odds of transmitting the virus was nearly 20 times greater indoors compared to an open-air environment. In a story published by WCCO-TV in Minneapolis on Sept. 1, Dr. Kumi Smith, assistant professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota, said that it’s hard to quantify the difference between the environments, but most of the “super-spreader” cases cataloged to date have come from indoor settings. The definite take-away from all of this is, go outside in the sun. It’s good for body, mind, and spirit, and may well help keep COVID-19 at bay.