New Study Suggests Vitamin D Deficiency is Linked to Severe COVID-19
A recent study has found more than 80 percent of approximately 200 COVID-19 patients in a Spanish hospital were deficient in vitamin D. This research seems to support a previous study that indicated an apparent correlation between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of acquiring COVID-19.
Vitamin D is a hormone that is produced by the kidneys. It controls blood calcium concentration and supports immune system function. It’s been shown to be particularly useful in protecting against infections. Let’s take a closer look at this newest research out of Spain, as well as its potential and practical implications.
About the Study
In the new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers found that 82.2 percent of the 216 COVID-19 patients studied were vitamin D deficient. Of all the patients, men had lower levels than women. It was discovered that patients with lower vitamin D levels also had higher levels of inflammatory markers like ferritin and D-dimer. These markers have been associated with worse outcomes in COVID-patients.
The authors of this most recent research seem to believe it may be worthwhile to treat vitamin D deficiency in vulnerable patients. Populations such as the elderly, those with comorbid conditions and nursing home residents would be the focus of such treatment. The research team indicated that this method could benefit both the musculoskeletal and immune systems of COVID-19 patients who are low in vitamin D.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D actually plays numerous roles in maintaining head-to-toe health. One of its primary functions is to promote calcium absorption, according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. It helps to build and strengthen bones, preventing them from becoming brittle. It can also help to strengthen muscles, and stronger muscles can aid in preventing falls.
Useful in COVID-19 patients and the general population is vitamin D’s ability to support the immune system and fight infection by repelling harmful bacteria and viruses. It also works to balance the immune system. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked with frequent colds and flu.
Other vitamin D benefits include:
- Type 1 and 2 diabetes prevention
- Strengthened oral health
- Lower risk of certain cancers
- Hypertension treatment
- Weight loss
- Decreased depression
Vitamin D is a supplement that could benefit a large portion of the population in numerous ways.
Reasons for Vitamin D Deficiency
A significant portion of the US population is deficient in vitamin D, approximately 42%. It’s even higher among certain groups.
These groups include:
- People over 65
- Premenopausal women
- Individuals with poor nutrition habits
- Caucasians who avoid sun exposure
- People with darker skin tones
- Those with certain medical conditions such as obesity, chronic kidney or liver disease, and celiac disease
- People taking prescriptions for heartburn, constipation, and acid reflux on a long-term basis.
It’s also been shown that living in areas with high pollution or in cities with tall buildings blocking sunlight could be reasons for low levels of vitamin D.
How to Get More Vitamin D
There are a number of ways to get more vitamin D. One is to get more sunlight in your life. Spending about 20 minutes outdoors a few days each week is a good start. Sunscreen is still recommended during your time outside. Exposure to a UV lamp for up to 15 minutes can be a substitute if you’re not able to get outside.
It’s also possible to get vitamin D through your diet, though there are few foods that naturally contain adequate amounts. Try adding fatty fish, along with mushrooms and eggs, to your meals. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D like breakfast cereal, milk, yogurt, and orange juice.
Vitamin D dosage
You can take supplements in order to get sufficient amounts of vitamin D, especially during the colder months when you’re getting less sunlight. Vitamin D3 supplements are often recommended by doctors. Talk to yours to see if it’s a good idea for you.
A daily dose of between 1000 and 2000 IU is usually enough for adults. Most doctors recommend that you do not exceed 4000 IU per day, but some experts claim that recommendations are low. Ask your doctor if you’re not sure.
You should take your supplement with your largest fat-containing meal of the day for the best absorption.
Treatment for vitamin D deficiency may help to improve Covid-19 prognosis. More studies will need to be done in order to substantiate the current body of research. However, getting significant levels is beneficial for everyone. Finding ways to supplement vitamin D in your daily routine can help to keep you healthy in the coming months.