Organic & Natural Health Association Launches Vitamin D Campaign
The education initiative aims to inform consumers at the greatest risk of vitamin D deficiency with relevant research.
ONHA sourced an article published by the National Institutes of Health which suggests that vitamin D deficiency is suspected to be involved in the disparate impact that COVID-19 has among different racial/ethnic groups. BAME (Black, Asian, and minority ethnic) groups disproportionately represent 30% of hospitalized, critically ill patients with COVID-19, and the research “highlights stark ethnic disproportionalities” in COVID-19 mortality odds, which are over four- and threefold for black and Bangladeshi/Pakistani individuals compared to white individuals, the authors report. Further, they acknowledge in the review that vitamin D supplementation in a wide range of placebo-controlled, randomized studies has demonstrated a reduced risk for respiratory tract infection, and associations between vitamin D deficiency and acute respiratory distress syndrome have been reported. Deficiencies in the vitamin are widely reported at disparate rates in both BAME groups and obese people, “offering one plausible explanation for higher COVID-19 burden in these groups.” Other risk factors which vitamin D deficiency might be stacking up with include economic status, underlying health conditions including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, density of residence, and household crowding, all of which have well-defined gaps across racial/ethnic lines according to prior research.
ONHA cites a report published by the National Institutes of Health which found that vitamin D deficiency’s overall prevalence is 41.6%, but, for Black respondents to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the number skyrocketed to 82.1%, followed by Hispanic people, whose deficiency rates were 69.2%.
“We have piles of information showing that vitamin D supplementation can drastically improve your health on many levels,” Dr. Ken Redcross, scientific advisor for ONHA, said. “The issue is not whether the information on vitamin D is available or accurate, it’s more about how and to whom it is being delivered. That’s where the gap is so obvious, therefore, I’m urgently calling upon my medical colleagues to not withhold or distort this valuable information so that we can change the trajectory of health for families, especially in Black and Latino communities where the need is the greatest during the upcoming and complicated flu season.”
Further, ONHA cites a preliminary study published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation which found that vitamin D deficiency was a predictor of poor COVID-19 prognosis in a sample of 42 patients.
Additionally, data from an Indonesian study found that vitamin D levels were significantly related to COVID-19 outcomes in a pool of 780 patients, finding that anyone who contracted COVID-19 and had vitamin D concentrations of 19 ng/ML or less experienced a death rate of 100%. None of the patients in the analysis who had vitamin D levels of 34 ng/mL or greater died, however, warranting randomized controlled trials aimed at determining any role vitamin D supplementation might play on health outcomes.
“We need to advocate for vitamin D supplementation,” Redcross continued. “It’s the most direct, cost-effective, and practical way to improve everyone’s vitamin D level, without any racial barriers.”
Of all the factors that preliminary research suggests might be at play in disparate COVID-19 outcomes, ONHA CEO Karen Howard believes that vitamin D status is the most controllable, and accessible. “Our current challenge seems to be education, and that’s something we can proactively affect.”
ONHA re-lauched its website, www.PowerofD.org, with a “Get on my Level” challenge,, which includes validated health facts on vitamin D, statistics on vitamin D levels nad COVID-19 outcomes, educational materials, and a vitamin D calculator which can be used to monitor and improve vitamin D levels.