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The role vitamin D plays in helping treat COVID-19

Vitamin D is proving to be somewhat useful in the fight against COVID-19, and was even part of the president’s recent treatment. To better understand how effective it is, Mercer Island MD Dr. Gordon Cohen joined Seattle’s Morning News to discuss.

“There was a study that came out … that showed that hospitalized patients, and that’s the key — it’s not outpatients, it’s hospitalized patients that were being treated for COVID-19 — were less likely to have life threatening complications if they had adequate vitamin D levels. One of the things that’s important about that is that we get vitamin D usually from the sun, or we could get it from some dietary sources, or else we have to take a supplement,” he said.

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“And actually, people in the Seattle area, in the Pacific Northwest in general, tend to have below normal vitamin D levels because we don’t get adequate sun exposure here,” he added. “When we check vitamin D levels on people randomly, they’re usually below normal. So we always recommend that people should be taking vitamin D, and actually I take a pretty substantial dose of vitamin D every day because of this.”

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Regarding COVID-19, vitamin D has been shown to reduce the level of sickness should one end up being hospitalized.

“As it applies to COVID-19, if you get an infection severe enough to end up hospitalized, actually having an appropriate vitamin D level can reduce the likelihood of you getting very sick. Now this isn’t completely new,” Cohen said. “We actually know of studies in the past that have shown the same thing for influenza as well.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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