Low Vitamin D could be a COVID-19 Marker

Vitamin D-Rich Microgreens Boost Your Immune Responses

Did you know that you may be suffering from a lack of vitamin D?

In a study published this week, researchers Petre Cristian Ilie,  Simina Stefanescu, and Lee Smith showed that there is a potential association in “The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality.”

They looked at the mean level of vitamin D, cases of COVID-19, and deaths caused by COVID-19 (April 8, 2020)  per one million residents, among 20 European countries.

Look at the table and you can see that Italy and Spain, with a lot of their older citizens dying from COVID-19, have lower average vitamin D levels than most northern European countries.


Country Vitamin D (25)HD nmol/L COVID-19 Cases COVID-19 Deaths
Portugal 39.0 1289 37
Spain 42.5 3137 314
Switzerland 46.0 2686 103
UK 47.4 895 105
Belgium 49.3 2019 193
Italy 50.0 2306 292
Germany 50.1 1309 25
Estonia 51.0 893 18
Turkey 51.8 453 10
Ireland 56.4 1230 48
Iceland 57.0 4736 18
Netherlands 59.5 1199 131
France 60.0 1671 167
Hungary 60.6 93 6
Czech Republic 62.5 62.5 488
Norway 65.0 1123 19
Denmark 65.0 933 38
Finland 67.7 449 7
Sweden 73.5 834 68
Slovakia 81.5 125 0.4


“The highest average levels of vitamin D are found in northern Europe, due to the consumption of cod liver oil and vitamin D supplements, and possibly less sun avoidance. Scandinavian nations [Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland] are among the countries with the lowest number of COVID-19 cases and mortality rates per head of population in Europe”, said chief researcher, Mr. Petre Cristian Ilie, lead urologist of Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust.

Based on other studies, there is evidence that vitamin D deficiency is a significant public health problem worldwide in all age groups. You should also know that aging decreases the capacity of human skin to produce vitamin D3. It is incredibly low among adults over 70 years old due to reduced sun exposure.

However, there is no data yet that directly links sun exposure or vitamin D supplement levels to prevent coronavirus infection or reduce the severity of the illness if you are infected.

Did you know that there are microgreens filled with vitamin D?

We can get vitamin D from animals, fungi, and yeasts (mushrooms, fish, meat, eggs, and dairy).

What I didn’t know is that vitamin D is also biosynthesized in plants, and the research goes back to as early as 1927.  Yet very little modern research has focused on measuring the level of vitamin D content in edible plant foods.

So off I went, and after hours and hours of research, there are at least 15 flowering plants that have been shown to contain vitamin D3.

And the two families from which we can grow microgreens with vitamin D3 are the Fabaceae and Poaceae families.

The Encyclopedia Britannica describes each family as follows:

Fabaceae also called Leguminosae, pea family of flowering plants (angiosperms), consists of more than 700 genera and about 20,000 species of trees, shrubs, vines, and herbs and is worldwide in distribution. Some of the most important commercial species include soybeans (Glycine max), garden peas (Pisum sativum), peanuts (Arachis hypogaea), and alfalfa (Medicago sativa).

Unlike sprouts, microgreens have leaves (cotyledon and very young true leaves) where the vitamin D can be found.

  • alfalfa (Medicago sativa)
  • green bean (P. vulgaris)
  • lima bean (P. lunatus)
  • chickpea (Cicer arietinum)
  • fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)
  • sweet pea (L. odoratus)
  • lentil (Lens culinaris)

Poaceae grass family of monocotyledonous flowering plants is the world’s single most important source of food. They rank among the top five families of flowering plants in terms of the number of species. Plant communities dominated by grasses account for about 24 percent of the Earth’s vegetation.

  • wheatgrass (genus Agropyron)

Did you also know that genetics determines your vitamin D response?


Studies done on identical twins show that about 25 -50% of the variation of Vitamin D levels depends on genetics, the binding protein (VDBP).

Some of you may know rickets as a child. Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets.

Children’s bones get soft, making them bend – the infamous “cowboy bowlegs.”  In adults, your bones ache and your muscles become weak.

Child with rickets caused by vitamin D deficiency
The recommended dietary intake for vitamin D in international units (I.U.), based on the assumption that you get some sun (which can vary):


Age Recommended daily intake of vitamin D
0 to 12 months 400 IU
1 to 70 years 600 IU
70 years and above 800 IU


If you have vitamin D levels below 30 ng/mL, the Endocrine Society guidelines recommend a daily intake of 1,500–2,000 IU to restore healthy levels of vitamin D.

I didn’t know my level was low until I got tested earlier this year (January) during my annual physical.

And, did you know there is a vitamin D Council?

Professor Michael Holick, Ph.D., MD, of Boston University Medical Center, and one of the world’s foremost authorities on vitamin D, recommends 2,000 IU a day.

You can read his book on vitamin D.

In another study, Professor Robert Heaney of Creighton University and his colleagues discovered that if you take 2,200 IU of vitamin D every day, you only have about 12 days’ supply of vitamin D in your body.

And while there is mounting evidence that vitamin D prevents chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and respiratory infections, you can still be susceptible even with enough vitamin D flowing in your bloodstream.

So, I believe in complementary medicine, not alternative medicine.

But you should consult a physician before taking vitamin D supplements.

Where can you buy fresh microgreens?

So, I did a bit of research for you to find the best sources globally:


Select Microgreens Vendors Around the World
Nature Basket https://www.naturesbasket.co.in/Online-grocery-shopping/Fruits-Vegetables/Exotic-Vegetables/Herbs-Microgreens/147_0_0
Blooming Greens https://www.bloominggreens.com/
Madar Farms https://www.madarfarms.co/our-products/
Israel https://www.2bfresh.com/
Switzerland https://www.2bfresh.com/
Fresh Origins http://www.freshorigins.com/our-products/microgreens/
Farmbox Greens https://www.farmboxgreens.com/
Gourmet Sweet Botanicals https://www.shop.gourmetsweetbotanicals.com/MicroGreens_c2.htm
ReAct Green https://reactgreens.com/
Sprout House Farms https://www.sprouthousefarms.com.au/
Pocket Herbs https://pocketherbs.com.au/product-category/microgreens?filter=true&product_cat=fresh-cuts%2Cmicrogreens
Ameba https://ameblo.jp/kaiware-nihaorocks/entry-12354143826.html
Mirai Farms https://miraigroup.jp/en/
Or search Locally on Google “buy microgreens near me.”


We are selling our JPureFarms microgreens locally in the neighborhood.

But if you are interested in growing your own vitamin D-rich microgreens, then Nature’s Blossom’s seed starter kit contains everything you need to grow four varieties of microgreens including Arugula successfully.

Full disclosure: I do get a small (89 cent) commission if you buy this.

Want more information on Microgreens?

I’ve learned a lot about microgreens, how good they are for you, and what you can do with them. Check out my guide, “The Beginner’s Nutritional Guide to Incredible Microgreens.”

Or consider picking up my Eat Now! Cookbooks.

As an author, I highly appreciate the feedback I get from my readers. It helps others to make informed decisions before buying or reading my book.

If you enjoy my books, please consider leaving a short review.

By the time you read this, I’ll have gone outside in the sun in my swim trunks. No, I don’t have a pool in my backyard garden. I’m going to sun-bathe for 15–20 minutes and get some much-needed Vitamin D.

Andrew Neves

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