UCSF Fresno study explores possible link between COVID-19 and Vitamin D

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In the study, the majority of the patients with low Vitamin D levels landed in the ICU

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — President Trump’s COVID-19 treatment has received a lot of attention for the past couple days and included in his treatment was Vitamin D. Right now at UCSF Fresno, a study is looking at Vitamin D’s effectiveness against the virus.

From the first months of the pandemic, Dr. Anna Kazaryan — a rheumatologist at UCSF Fresno — said she noticed a potential connection between Vitamin D and COVID-19.

“I have seen that lower levels of Vitamin D correlate with increased risk of contracting this virus and also correlates with the disease severity,” she said.

In May, Karzaryan started testing this connection through a study by looking at the Vitamin D levels of COVID-19 patients and the severity of their illness.

Close to 200 patients are part of this first phase, and she says 70% to 80% of patients with low Vitamin D have landed in the ICU. It’s a concerning stat, especially because of the low levels of Vitamin D she’s been seeing this year.

She believes the low levels could be tied to the shelter in place orders that have been prompted by the pandemic.

“I have never seen this many Vitamin D deficiencies in our patient population. Almost everyone is low…there is insufficiency and deficiency, depending on the levels,” Karzayan said.

The second phase of the study will focus on treatment. Kazaryan said to get proper Vitamin D levels, people can get some sun, eat Vitamin D rich foods, or even take supplements.

However, she warns not to overdo it.

“There is such thing as Vitamin D toxicity,” Kazaryan said. “It’s great when it’s at a normal level, but too much can cause a lot of problems.”

Kazaryan adds checking in with a doctor is the best way to know for sure how much Vitamin D you need.

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