Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Increased risk for COVID-19 in patients with vitamin D deficiency


As we begin to enter the autumn and winter months the sun starts to give us a lot less warmth and energy, we cover up in extra layers, and we stay indoors far more than during the summer. Along with this, we will get a lot less vitamin D, a nutrient that aids in maintaining blood calcium and phosphorus levels. Contact with ultraviolet radiation from the sun allows our body to produce vitamin D. Most people get a large proportion of their vitamin D from sunlight, so vitamin D deficiency rates begin to rise. Unfortunately, covid-19 also is on the rise during the autumn and winter when we are cramped indoors.


A study that was published last year looked into the relationship between the risk of covid-19 infection and vitamin D deficiency. The researchers found that those who were vitamin D deficient were 4.6x more likely to test positive for covid-19 than patients without a vitamin D deficiency. The researchers also controlled for other factors that were known to contribute to covid-19 infection rate. Factors like: sex, malabsorption of vitamins, dental diseases, race, diabetes, age, and obesity. From a population of 987,849 patients found on the University of Florida patient registry platform, 887 of the patients contracted covid-19 and 31,950 had vitamin D deficiency, and 87 patients had both vitamin D deficiency and covid-19.


I think, despite the vast accumulation of knowledge that has occurred over the past year with covid-19, it is important to understand risk factors for infection. In the span of time since this study was conducted, we underwent a vaccine rollout that has significantly impacted the rate of infection among those who received either one or two shots. I feel that this association between risk of covid-19 infection and vitamin D deficiency is pretty surprising. I wonder how this association stands in the wake of our vaccination effort. Are those who are vaccinated still more likely to be infected with covid-19 if they are vitamin D deficient? Additionally, I wonder if rises in vitamin D deficiency during the colder months along with increased time indoors add appreciable amounts to positivity rates of covid-19.


Alan Papenfuhs (5)


  1. Love the flow of this. I didn't know that being vitamin D deficient plays a factor to contracting covid. I for one am so that kind of worries me a bit so I should probably start taking vitamin supplements and maybe it'll help.

    - Selena yim

  2. This is a very interesting post. I wonder if vitamin D deficiency is also related to other fall and winter colds, like the flu. If this is the case we should all be extra cautious to make sure we don't get multiple colds at once. Maybe it's safest to start taking vitamin D supplements this November

    Will Sobchuk

  3. This is super interesting, but also kind of terrifying!! 4.5 times more likely is a lot. Would taking vitamin D supplements be able to combat this? Or is there something else that we're getting from sun exposure that helps with this?

  4. It's crazy to see how many disorders affect the likelihood of getting another one. I'm definitely not surprised that having a vitamin D deficiency increases the likelihood of contracting covid-19 as almost any deficiency of any kind puts one at a disadvantage. What's even scarier is the fact that covid-19 keeps us inside more so now both in the winter and summer months which furthermore causes vitamin D deficiency. I wonder if, overall, the rate of diagnosed vitamin D deficiencies have increased since the emergence of the covid-19 virus.
    - Brianna Bailey