Neither vaccine nor cure, but a potentially interesting adjuvant, both to prevent infection with the Sars-Cov-2 virus, and the risk of severe forms of Covid-19 that it triggers: this is what, perhaps be, vitamin D. Presumptions born of the traditional consumption of cod liver oil (rich in vitamin D) in the Scandinavian countries, where it was found that people who absorbed seemed to resist the virus better. Enough to encourage 73 French or French-speaking experts to launch, on January 18, without waiting for the final results of several studies in progress, a call “To supplement the French population with vitamin D as a whole”.
A “fuel” of the immune system
Vitamin D, or calciferol, is naturally present in certain categories of food (fatty fish, cod liver oil, butter, eggs, etc.); exposure to the sun, which stimulates its production by the skin, is the other source of intake for humans. As a result, according to the Académie des Sciences, 41% of the French population have a vitamin D deficiency during winter – a rate that increases with age. However, the scientists explain, it acts as a regulator of the activity of the ACE2 receptor. It is on this that the Sars-Cov-2 virus binds itself, which can trigger an inflammatory chain reaction (“the cytokine storm”), affecting in particular the lungs and which can cause acute respiratory distress, responsible many deaths due to Covid-19. It is this risk that vitamin D. “Fuel” for the innate immune system could combat. It could also stimulate adaptive immunity – the one triggered by vaccines.
Several international studies are in progress and have not yet been completed, but “The absence of risks” linked to vitamin D supplementation led the 73 authors of the call to recommend it ” in large scale “, under the control of its delivery by general practitioners. As a preventive measure, for people at risk of hypovitaminosis D – that is to say everyone, during the winter period – and, in the event of infection by Sars-Cov-2, in order to try to limit the risk of severe forms of Covid-19. Obviously, past disappointments in terms of treatment or prevention should lead to the greatest caution. The authors of the appeal themselves insist that vitamin D cannot “To be considered as a weapon of the same level as vaccination or barrier gestures”. But it’s not like we have too many weapons to fight this virus.