Does vitamin D help against COVID-19?
When the weather is nice, we always want to go outside to enjoy the fresh air. This gives us the added benefit of sunlight causing our bodies to produce vitamin D, which in turn is a great weapon against COVID-19. But don't think, this article is not just sunbathing propaganda. In fact, there's more to it than that.
What is the connection between COVID-19 and vitamin D after all?
Studies by scientists show that large amounts of this vitamin can seriously reduce the likelihood of contracting the coronovirus, as well as seriously reduce the percentage of inflammatory reactions - so complications are much less likely to occur when the body fights the virus.
There are some studies that make us think that large amounts of this vitamin give us excellent protection. Even before the pandemic, there was a finding that vitamin D supplements are completely safe for humans and can give extra protection against respiratory infections. Among test subjects, it was found that vitamin D supplements to people with the lowest levels of vitamin D - markedly helped reduce infectious diseases.
Various studies are currently being done to give us a more complete picture of the effect of vitamin D in fighting the COVID-19 virus, and today we do not know how much effect vitamin D supplements have, but we can definitely say - that the potential benefit could be very high.
Even though we don't know everything about this virus yet, we have some good reason to believe that vitamin D gives your body more power to fight COVID-19.
How do you get vitamin D?
The most common daily source of vitamin D is sunlight and a proper diet.
Foods that contain adequate amounts of vitamin D:
- Dried mushrooms
- Fatty fish (such as tuna and salmon)
- Milk of almonds
- Orange juice
Your body produces vitamin D all the time, but production is especially increased when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Exercising outside is a great way to increase your vitamin D production. That said, don't forget that too much sun exposure can also be harmful. Don't forget your sunscreen.
Does your body have enough vitamin D?
For most adults, the normal amount of vitamin D is about 600 ME (800 ME for older people). Most people will be able to maintain this level by staying in the sun and maintaining a diet, but it doesn't always work. All people have different levels of vitamin D synthesis. Some people get it much faster and easier from food, while others get it easier from sunlight. But don't forget that the sun can affect you differently in different places, depending on the season or other factors.
As we get older, it becomes more difficult for our body to produce vitamin D from sunlight. People with darker skin need more sun exposure to get it produced. If we imagine a situation where it becomes problematic for a person to go outdoors (for example, an elderly African-American with foot problems), the risk of vitamin D deficiency becomes very high.
Also keep in mind that some diseases can lead to vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is a vitamin that dissolves easily in fat, and so people who are overweight may also feel deficient in this vitamin. Fat in the body begins to retain the vitamin and its access to the bloodstream becomes more difficult. There are also diseases that can indirectly affect the absorption of vitamin D. For example, if fats are poorly absorbed, they will interfere with the vitamin. People who have kidney or liver problems may also not be able to properly process vitamin D from sunlight or their diet.
It's a good idea to check the amount of vitamin D in your body through a blood test for 25-hydroxyvitamin D. This is important to determine the course of treatment for people who, for whatever reason, don't get much sun exposure. Also if you have bone problems (such as trauma or osteoporosis).
Do you need vitamin D supplements?
If you're not sure you have enough vitamin D in your body, which you get through food or the sun - supplements may be a good option. If you are already taking a multivitamin, chances are it already has vitamin D in it. Check the label of your supplement. Ideally it should say about 700 ME per day, but even if it's 2,000, that's okay. Of course, it's best to consult your doctor for a complete picture of your health.
Nutritional supplements are not the only solution. Dr. Manson (who teaches medicine at Harvard and has an excellent understanding of the effects of vitamin D on the body) says that you can get vitamin D simply by living a good lifestyle. Get outdoors more often, and enjoy the sun (without forgetting to protect yourself). Take time to choose the right foods that have enough vitamin D in them. Get more fish, and avoid less healthy foods. All healthy habits will give you a better chance of not being vitamin D deficient, and better prepare your body to fight COVID-19.
Some people take research about the benefits of vitamin D too fanatically and start consuming giant doses of supplements. In fact, scientists are still working on the effects of vitamin D in the fight against coronovirus, but we can say that even a daily dose is enough. You shouldn't go crazy and take too much vitamin D without consulting your doctor first. For example, cod liver contains a lot of vitamin D, but it also has vitamin A, which in large amounts can be toxic to your body and make your bones brittle.
Regardless of what direction COVID-19 goes and what research is done, we can say for sure that vitamin D is vital to your body's health, so watch the amount in your blood, and avoid deficiency. If you can correct your vitamin levels, chances are your immune system will only get stronger. Take walks outdoors and choose the right foods.
Was this article helpful?14 Posted by: 👨 Denise J. Krupa