WHAT’S NEW IN THE CORONAVIRUS-VITAMIN D DEBATE?
Are you getting enough
It’s a perplexing scenario: Some scientists say that, while vitamin D does play a role in immune function, it won’t majorly influence how your body reacts to Covid-19. Still, preliminary, non-peer-reviewed studies posit a possible link between vitamin D deficiency with worsened Covid-19 outcomes.
This is Dr JoAnn Manson, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
“We’ve known for a long time that it’s important to avoid vitamin D deficiency for bone health, cardiometabolic health, and other purposes. But it may be even more important now than ever. There’s emerging and growing evidence that vitamin D status may be relevant to the risk of developing COVID-19 infection and to the severity of the disease.
Vitamin D is important to innate immunity and boosts immune function against viral diseases. We also know that vitamin D has an immune-modulating effect and can lower inflammation, and this may be relevant to the respiratory response during COVID-19 and the cytokine storm that’s been demonstrated.
There’s also evidence from a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation looking at acute respiratory tract infections (upper and lower). This was published in the British Medical Journal 2 years ago, showing that vitamin D supplementation was associated with a significant reduction in these respiratory tract infections. Overall, it was only a 12% reduction, but among the participants who had profound vitamin D deficiency at baseline (such as a blood level of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D of less than 10 ng/mL), there was a 70% lower risk of respiratory infection with vitamin D supplementation.
So the evidence is becoming quite compelling. It’s important that we encourage our patients to be outdoors and physically active, while maintaining social distancing. This will lead to increased synthesis of vitamin D in the skin, just from the incidental sun exposure.”
HOW DO WE GET VITAMIN D?
People get vitamin D from a few sources, but it most often comes from the sun. When a person is exposed to sunlight, the ultraviolet B-rays in that light hit the skin and ignite vitamin D synthesis.
We also get small amounts of vitamin D from certain foods, like fortified dairy products, cereal, and fatty fish.
Typically, a person can get a sufficient amount of vitamin D just by living their life — as opposed to taking vitamin D supplements. This is true unless you have a condition that makes synthesizing vitamin D difficult.
“Most people don’t need to take a supplement to avoid vitamin D deficiency,” Manson advises. “That is avoided and prevented in the vast majority of the population through time outdoors.”
For now, this debate continues on and in time we will see if there are any benefits that can be achieved with vitamin D and its part to play in potential protection of COVID-19 infection.
Dr John Campbell has a web site and youtube channel currently covering information relating to the CoronaVirus pandemic. His teaching expertise in this subject is extensive. Below are links to his website as well as his YouTube channel. There are support material for download on his web site as well as extensive information that can be purchased.
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