Vitamin D reduces COVID-19 severity, deaths — Prof. Alonge

Prof. Temitope Alonge, the Deputy Chairman of Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force, said higher Vitamin D levels due to constant exposure to sunlight might be responsible for the lower death rates and severity of COVID-19 in the country.
Alonge made this known in an interview while speaking on treatment protocols adopted by the state in management of COVID-19 patients.
Alonge, a former Chief Medical Director, University College Hospital, Ibadan,  said that there was a link between the levels of vitamin D, which plays a role in our immune function, and respiratory health.
According to him, the task force had also started a study that discovered that Vitamins D level played a major role on severity and complications of COVID-19.
“Vitamin D has been looked at. It has two major functions. One is called endocrine and the other one is called autocrine.
“The endocrine function assists in the absorption of calcium which helps build the immune system and keeps you strong, that’s what most people think Vitamin D is for, but in fact Vitamin D receptor is expressed on immune cells.
“The autocrine function of Vitamin D is that it stimulates the cells to produce antibodies as required.
“So the abilities to produce these antibodies are already inside of you and your cells have it.
“But they won’t produce it until they have a trigger by Vitamin D3, the active form which forms from when the natural ultraviolet (UV), light interferes with a product in our skin.
“In our study on micronutrients status of some patients at the Olodo Infectious Disease Centre, we discovered that when a few patients did not turn negative quickly, when we added Vitamin D 100,000 to 200,000 International units, within five days they became negative.
“So in effect, a Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased autoimmunity, as well as an increased susceptibility to viral infections,” he told NAN.
Alonge said that they were beginning to isolate and analyse the genetic composition of Coronavirus strain that was circulating and causing infection in the country in order to know if it was different from others.
“So the question is that: are we actually being protected from the high deaths experienced in the Western countries by the Vitamin D we have in abundance in Africa.
“Ordinarily what the western world was saying was that we were going to be picking dead bodies from the streets.”
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