Vitamin D a miracle drug or simple correlation

Vitamin D, just like many vitamins are important to good nutruitional health.  Our bodies need vitamins and various other minerals for general health.  Not having the recommended amount of these over time will create health risk factors depending on what you are missing.  Yet it is important to keep in mind that in times of health scares (ie epidemic or pandemic) it is easy to want to find  a silver bullet that will eliminate the deadly diseases and put our mind at ease.

As of writing this over 200,000 people have died in the USA as a result of the Covid 19 virus.  You can nitpick on these numbers but the fact is that diabetes or being overweight (or many other risk factors) would have killed these people anyway but it would have statistically been over a much longer time period than the six months it took to accumulate this death toll.

There are always studies or beliefs about many different supplements that don’t pan out.  Pointing to a specific supplement is much like a fad diet.  There may be for some people some relief but this is perhaps not due to the supplement itself but rather other factors, one unchangeable one is the luck of having “good genes” from your parents.

Rather than pin our hopes on something that actually has “needs to be studied further” (this is from the article not me) we can focus on much less glamorous options.

  • good diet
  • enough exercise
  • plenty of sleep
  • healthy body weight

A good diet will ensure that you get all the nutrients you need along with plenty of fiber.  Exercise doesn’t have to be 2 hours in the gym, it can be as simple as taking the stairs where there are escalators, park at the back of the parking lot when shopping, or taking an evening stroll.  If you do go outside and catch about 10-30 minutes of sunshine a few days a week you will have gotten your vitamin D.  There is inevitably not enough time to do everything and so going to bed on-time may feel like a punishment but it does guarantee your body is well rested and able to fight off infections.  This might be the common cold or even Covid 19.

Yet, lets take the side of suppliments for a moment.  What harm could a little extra vitamins do? Well, actually a lot. 

  • nausea
  • bloody stools
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • fluid build up lung/liver
  • hair loss
  • liver damage
  • severe headaches
  • bone pain
  • blurred vision
  • dry skin
  • vomiting
  • abnormal heart rhythm
  • constipation
  • frequent urination
  • muscle weakness
  • confusion
  • blood clotting issues
  • nerve damage
  • jaundice
  • elevated liver enzymes
  • nausea

I wrote this because I had received an email about how vitamin D deficiency might cause a 1.77 times greater chance to get the Covid 19 virus.  I find that to be a bit suspect as it sounds like they are advertising a silver bullet, but also because the article itself says

“… a finding that suggests that suggests randomized trials may needed to determine whether vitamin d affects covid 19 risk.”

I believe that this sentence can be paraphrased to the following.

“… this is an interesting observation but we need to actually test it to see if there is any causation”

In addition to just change to live a healthy lifestyle it might be a good idea to have a sceptical eye on health suggestions from the news … unless it is eat all of your vegetables.


A correlation between variables, however, does not automatically mean that the change in one variable is the cause of the change in the values of the other variable. 

Causation indicates that one event is the result of the occurrence of the other event; i.e. there is a causal relationship between the two events.

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