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Study: Getting plenty of sunshine might significantly reduce your risk of catching COVID-19

I guess it's a good thing we started the pandemic by locking everyone inside their homes?

Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

A new study from a professor of medicine at Boston University suggests that getting plenty of Vitamin D can reduce your chances of catching the coronavirus by at least 54%. Of course, the best and most easily absorbed source of Vitamin D for humans is good, old-fashioned sunshine — suggesting that the best way to avoid the coronavirus is to leave your house and spend adequate time outdoors.

Dr. Michael Holick, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine, announced the findings after studying blood samples collected by Quest Diagnostics from more than 190,000 individuals who had been tested for the coronavirus from all 50 states. They found that individuals who had low levels of Vitamin D in their blood had a 54% higher positivity rate than those who had adequate Vitamin D in their blood.

According to the Boston Herald, Holick said, "People have been looking for the magic drug or waiting for the vaccine and not looking for something this simple."

Moreover, the study found that the risk of getting coronavirus continued to decline as Vitamin D levels increased, suggesting a direct correlation between Vitamin D levels and resistance to the coronavirus.

As vitamin supplementation has increased in processed foods, many vitamin deficiencies have virtually disappeared in America, but Vitamin D deficiency remains relatively common — partly because there are few naturally occurring foods that contain Vitamin D, and partly because Vitamin D can be more difficult for the body to absorb when ingested orally.

Scientists regard the most efficient method of Vitamin D production to be sun exposure, which, of course, comes with a trade-off of an increased risk of skin cancer, particularly if proper sun precautions are not taken.

Holick theorized that the reason Vitamin D might provide resistance to the coronavirus is that Vitamin D suppresses the release of a protein called Cytokine in the body. Excessive cytokine can cause a condition known as cytokine storm, which is a cause of morbidity in COVID-19 patients.

Holick told the Herald that a Vitamin D deficiency alters the immune system, making one more likely to get upper respiratory infections. He also encouraged individuals who are unable to get adequate sun exposure to supplement their diet with Vitamin D, which he called "perfectly safe."

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