The ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has seen a variety of untested treatments proposed, in an effort to curb the deadly disease.
Among these suggestions, we find vitamin D, which has gained fame since the beginning of the crisis, as many have called for its widespread use to help combat the severity of “Covid-19”, amid conflicting results of studies on levels of sun vitamin and its link to disease.
The study by geneticists at Brunel University London, which was recently published in the journal BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health, found that there is no evidence that a person’s levels of vitamin D affect the extent of their suffering from “Covid-19”.
Vitamin D is made naturally by the body using sunlight and is especially important for bone health.
While some previous studies indicated a link between vitamin D deficiency and Covid-19 mortality rates, the British National Health Service (NHS) is currently stopping recommending it as a treatment against the disease, although it recommends that consideration should be given to taking it. Vitamin D supplementation to compensate for the lack of sunlight during lockdown.
Project leader Dr Photius Drinus, senior lecturer in genetic epidemiology at Brunel, said: “All of our work is based on the idea that correlation is not causal. There are a lot of studies available at the moment, but they only link vitamin D to Covid-19. ”
He explained, “For example, there are studies that say those who die have lower levels of vitamin D, and this is true. But those who die also tend to be older and kept at home. The active youth spend their day outside, and this was the problem that we were trying to address, what is the link and what is the causal relationship.
Using data from the Covid-19 Host Genetics Initiative and the UK Biobank, and a process known as Mendelian Randomization, the team set out to determine whether an individual’s genetic predisposition to high or low levels of vitamin D had an effect on how badly they suffered the effects. Covid-19.
During the trials, one group got doses of vitamin D and the second group got a placebo.
The scientists identified the genes associated with vitamin D, as some people tend to have lower levels, while others have higher levels naturally, and then they looked at whether these two groups were affected by “Covid-19” differently.
“So, you have two groups that were randomly selected by nature, because of genetics,” said Hasnat Amin, PhD researcher at Brunel. We can then compare the rates of Covid-19 between these two groups, and if we find a link, we can say that it is causal, because there are no other differences between the two groups.
She added: “If the only difference is that one group has good genes for vitamin D and the other group has bad vitamin D genes, and there is a difference in the severity of their exposure to Covid-19, it can be said that there is evidence of a causal relationship, and if not There is a difference, there is no evidence of a causal relationship. In fact, we did not find any evidence of a causal relationship. ”
The study only covers people of European ancestry because of the data sets that were available to the researchers, who say their results do not necessarily apply to other groups due to how a person’s skin color naturally affects vitamin D levels.
Dr Drenos said: “For many things, what we see in a community is relatively similar to other residents. But especially in the case of vitamin D, skin color, cultural differences, and how people are exposed to the sun make it difficult to determine whether our results apply to everyone. ”
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Source: The Regions Newspaper