A new publication from School of Medicine, in collaboration with the University of Liverpool, highlights the association between vitamin D levels and mortality from COVID-19.
Vitamin D is produced in the skin from UVB sunlight exposure.
This study shows that, counter intuitively, countries at lower latitude and typically sunny countries, such as Spain and Northern Italy, have high rates of vitamin D deficiency. These countries also experienced the highest infection and death rates in Europe.
The northern latitude countries of Norway, Finland and Sweden, have higher vitamin D levels despite less UVB sunlight exposure, because supplementation and fortification of foods is more common. These countries have lower COVID-19 infection and death rates.
This impact of the vitamin on Covid-19 may be because vitamin D is important in regulation and suppression of the inflammatory cytokine response, which causes the severe consequences from the virus.