VITAMIN D UPDATE: Vitamin D helps the body fight coronavirus, major Israeli study claims.

Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern of Bar Ilan University told The Times of Israel on Sunday that vitamin D is “like a steroid,” after publishing what she says is the world’s largest population-based study of its kind.

She embarked on the joint study with Leumit Health Services to probe whether there is a basis to suggestions — heard throughout the pandemic — that vitamin D may prove helpful.

Her team studied a 7,807-strong sample of Israelis who were tested for the coronavirus. It found that the average vitamin D level for people who screened negative was in the internationally-accepted “adequate” range, while the average for those who tested positive fell in the “inadequate” category.

Vitamin D levels of less than 20 nanograms per milliliter of blood are considered inadequate.

Frenkel-Morgenstern said that people in her sample who tested negative were, on average, within the adequate range, showing a mean vitamin D count of 21 nanograms per milliliter. Those who tested positive were, on average, under the adequate level, with a mean vitamin D count of 19 nanograms per milliliter.

People who went on to be hospitalized after their test had a lower mean vitamin D count: 17 nanograms per milliliter.

Related: More evidence that lack of Vitamin D is linked to Covid 19 severity.

Also: Northwestern Univ.: Vitamin D appears to play role in COVID-19 mortality rates.

Plus: Patterns of COVID-19 Mortality and Vitamin D: An Indonesian Study. A Facebook friend’s succinct summary of the findings in this study: “Just under half (49.7%) of cases had normal vitamin D status, and only 4% of them died. Just over a quarter (27%) had insufficient vitamin D status, and most of them (88%) died. Just under a quarter (23%) had deficient vitamin D status, and almost all of them (99%) died.”

The study calls anything over 30 ng/ml as normal Vitamin D; my doctor prefers in the neighborhood of 60.

And, as the researcher says, this calls into question policies of closing beaches and parks and encouraging people to stay indoors. I’d suggest that President Trump recommend that people supplement vitamin D and spend time outdoors, but I’m sure if he did the press would tell us that it’s deadly poison, and that even a few minutes of direct sunlight will cause your body to spontaneously combust.