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Health Club Management

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Exercise outside: Vitamin D could halve death rates from COVID-19

Vitamin D will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus, but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected
– Vadim Backman

People with severe vitamin D deficiency are twice as likely to experience severe complications – including death – if they fall ill with COVID-19.

That's the headline finding of a study conducted at Northwestern University in the US, which undertook a statistical analysis of data from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

After studying the global data relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team – led by professor of biomedical engineering, Vadim Backman – discovered a strong correlation between severe vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates.

Patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as Italy, Spain and the UK, had lower levels of vitamin D, compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected.

By analysing the publicly available patient data, the study discovered a strong correlation between vitamin D levels and cytokine storm — a hyperinflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system — as well as a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and mortality.

Cytokine storm can severely damage lungs and lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in patients – and seems to be what is killing a majority of COVID-19 patients.

This is exactly where Backman believes vitamin D plays a major role. Not only does vitamin D strengthen our immune systems, but it also prevents them from becoming dangerously overactive.

This means having healthy levels of vitamin D could protect patients against severe complications, including death, from COVID-19.

“Our analysis shows that the impact might be as high as cutting the mortality rate in half,” Backman said.

“It will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus, but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected.”

Backman added that the correlation might help explain the many mysteries surrounding COVID-19, such as why children are less likely to die.

Children do not yet have a fully developed "acquired" immune system, which is the immune system’s second line of defence and more likely to overreact.

“Children primarily rely on their innate immune system,” Backman said. “This may explain why their mortality rate is lower.”

Backman and his team were motivated to examine vitamin D levels after noticing unexplained differences in COVID-19 mortality rates from country to country.

Among the initial hypotheses was that differences in healthcare quality, age distributions in population, testing rates or different strains of the coronavirus might be responsible.

Backman, however, remained sceptical and wanted to research the data – and is now confident that he has found the real reason.

“None of the factors (that people thought were causing the differences) appear to play a significant role,” Backman said of the hypotheses.

“The healthcare system in northern Italy is one of the best in the world and differences in mortality exist even if one looks across the same age group. And, while the restrictions on testing do indeed vary, the disparities in mortality still exist even when we looked at countries or populations for which similar testing rates apply.

“Instead, we saw a significant correlation with vitamin D deficiency."

Backman is careful to note, however, that people should not take excessive doses of vitamin D, which might come with negative side effects.

The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors. During the summer months, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight, however, the lockdown in many countries has led to people being indoors for many weeks, only to emerge with lower vitamin D levels while COVID-19 is still circulating in the population.

This fact points to the importance of encouraging outdoor exercise.

Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods, including oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel – red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods.

He said the subject needs much more research to know how vitamin D could be used most effectively to protect against COVID-19 complications.

• To access and read the full study, titled The Possible Role of Vitamin D in Suppressing Cytokine Storm and Associated Mortality in COVID-19 Patients click here for the health science journal Medrxiv.

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
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News

Exercise outside: Vitamin D could halve death rates from COVID-19

Vitamin D will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus, but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected
– Vadim Backman

People with severe vitamin D deficiency are twice as likely to experience severe complications – including death – if they fall ill with COVID-19.

That's the headline finding of a study conducted at Northwestern University in the US, which undertook a statistical analysis of data from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

After studying the global data relating to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team – led by professor of biomedical engineering, Vadim Backman – discovered a strong correlation between severe vitamin D deficiency and mortality rates.

Patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as Italy, Spain and the UK, had lower levels of vitamin D, compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected.

By analysing the publicly available patient data, the study discovered a strong correlation between vitamin D levels and cytokine storm — a hyperinflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system — as well as a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and mortality.

Cytokine storm can severely damage lungs and lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in patients – and seems to be what is killing a majority of COVID-19 patients.

This is exactly where Backman believes vitamin D plays a major role. Not only does vitamin D strengthen our immune systems, but it also prevents them from becoming dangerously overactive.

This means having healthy levels of vitamin D could protect patients against severe complications, including death, from COVID-19.

“Our analysis shows that the impact might be as high as cutting the mortality rate in half,” Backman said.

“It will not prevent a patient from contracting the virus, but it may reduce complications and prevent death in those who are infected.”

Backman added that the correlation might help explain the many mysteries surrounding COVID-19, such as why children are less likely to die.

Children do not yet have a fully developed "acquired" immune system, which is the immune system’s second line of defence and more likely to overreact.

“Children primarily rely on their innate immune system,” Backman said. “This may explain why their mortality rate is lower.”

Backman and his team were motivated to examine vitamin D levels after noticing unexplained differences in COVID-19 mortality rates from country to country.

Among the initial hypotheses was that differences in healthcare quality, age distributions in population, testing rates or different strains of the coronavirus might be responsible.

Backman, however, remained sceptical and wanted to research the data – and is now confident that he has found the real reason.

“None of the factors (that people thought were causing the differences) appear to play a significant role,” Backman said of the hypotheses.

“The healthcare system in northern Italy is one of the best in the world and differences in mortality exist even if one looks across the same age group. And, while the restrictions on testing do indeed vary, the disparities in mortality still exist even when we looked at countries or populations for which similar testing rates apply.

“Instead, we saw a significant correlation with vitamin D deficiency."

Backman is careful to note, however, that people should not take excessive doses of vitamin D, which might come with negative side effects.

The body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors. During the summer months, most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight, however, the lockdown in many countries has led to people being indoors for many weeks, only to emerge with lower vitamin D levels while COVID-19 is still circulating in the population.

This fact points to the importance of encouraging outdoor exercise.

Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods, including oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel – red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods.

He said the subject needs much more research to know how vitamin D could be used most effectively to protect against COVID-19 complications.

• To access and read the full study, titled The Possible Role of Vitamin D in Suppressing Cytokine Storm and Associated Mortality in COVID-19 Patients click here for the health science journal Medrxiv.

Sign up for FREE ezines & magazines
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Washing spa linens and uniforms in hot soapy water will kill COVID-19

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Features
Promotional feature
Reaching members anywhere and anytime to connect, engage and coach is more important than ever and can easily be activated through Technogym Mywellness
Features
Coronavirus
The coronavirus pandemic has inspired a huge pivot to digital right across the industry, from sole traders to large chains and trusts. Kath Hudson looks at some of the offerings pulled together in lightning fast time to keep members active and sane
Features
Coronavirus
As the sector looks into the void of the COVID-19 lockdown and its aftermath, Duncan Wood-Allum presents a blueprint for a positive future
Features
HCM research
The good news? People are changing their exercise habits in lockdown, becoming more active and spending more time exercising with their children, according to new research
Features
Coronavirus
As clubs were ordered to close, one logical response was to freeze memberships, despite the financial difficulties it would cause. However, many operators found their community was willing to support them, as Kath Hudson reports
Features
Supplier showcase
With the spread of COVID-19 forcing more people into isolation, PureGym worked with FunXtion to rapidly include a digital on-demand workout offering to support members at home
Features
Software
With the coronavirus pandemic forcing gyms across the world to temporarily close their doors, staying connected to your members digitally has never been more important. Software suppliers tell Steph Eaves how they’re contributing
Features
People
HCM people

Professor Zhen Yan

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Dr Jonathan Leary

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Opinion
promotion
The activity industry finds itself in a position of considerable threat. Two-thirds of the world’s gyms are closed – that’s 230 million members unable to attend a fitness facility, according to data platform fitNdata.
Opinion: Ensuring members return after lockdown
Opinion
promotion
Elon Musk has plans to conquer Mars and these days the meat on your hamburger can be grown in a lab - so why are so many fitness businesses still using papers and pens to create workouts for their members?
Opinion: How the current pandemic may be helping the fitness industry to innovate
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: myFitApp launches branded live-streaming as part of its COVID-19 support package
Innovatise, the company behind myFitApp, has announced the immediate availability of its customer- branded live-streaming solution.
Featured supplier news
Featured supplier: What’s your Covid-19 exit strategy? How will you use this time to relaunch your business to thrive, not just survive
There is no escaping the fact that we are operating in extraordinary times. Our physical health clubs, gyms and studios are closed and we’re trying to keep our membership engaged, fit and healthy via online and digital training.
Video Gallery
Technogym mywellness app
Technogym
Improve your training experience. All your data in a single app. Read more
More videos:
Company profiles
Company profile: fibodo Limited
fibodo is the digital solution helping people lead healthier and happier lives. From grassroots individual ...
Company profiles
Company profile: Safe Space Lockers
Safe Space have over 25 years of experience in the UK leisure and fitness industry, ...
Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
Directory
Lockers/interior design
Fitlockers: Lockers/interior design
Spa software
SpaBooker: Spa software
Fitness Software
FunXtion International BV: Fitness Software
Locking solutions
Monster Padlocks: Locking solutions
Trade associations
International SPA Association - iSPA: Trade associations
Whole body cryotherapy
Zimmer MedizinSysteme GmbH / icelab: Whole body cryotherapy
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Direct debit solutions
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Property & Tenders
Greywell, Hampshire
Barnsgrove Health and Wellness Club
Property & Tenders
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Property & Tenders
Diary dates
04 Jun 2020
Marriott Forest of Arden Hotel & Country Club, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
13 Jun 2020
Worldwide, Various,
Diary dates
06-07 Jul 2020
Eastwood Hall, Nottingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
28-31 Aug 2020
Expo Centre & Riviera di Rimini, Italy
Diary dates
21-24 Sep 2020
Loews Coronado Bay Resort, Coronado, United States
Diary dates
11-12 Oct 2020
ExCeL London, London, United Kingdom
Diary dates
17-23 Oct 2020
Pinggu, Beijing, China
Diary dates
27-30 Oct 2020
Messe Stuttgart, Germany
Diary dates
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NEC, Birmingham, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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Athena, Leicester, United Kingdom
Diary dates
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