Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a number of important roles in the body. This nutrient is particularly important for the health of the immune system, leading many people to question whether supplementing with vitamin D can help reduce the risk of contracting the new coronavirus that causes COVID 19.
Although there is currently no cure for COVID 19, preventive measures such as physical distance and adequate hygiene can help to protect those worried about contracting the virus from infection.
Studies of Vitamin D in a Nutshell
Recent studies have shown that patients who have been hospitalized with COVID 19 and have sufficient vitamin D have a reduced risk of adverse side effects and death.
Research also shows that normal vitamin D levels can help to keep the immune system healthy and protect against respiratory diseases in general.
This article explains how vitamin D affects immune health and how supplementing with the nutrient can protect against respiratory diseases.
How Vitamin D affects your immune system Health: An overview of research into how Vitamin D affects yours and your children’s health.
Vitamin D is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, which is key to the development of healthy lungs, the heart, liver and other organs.
The vitamin plays a crucial role in promoting the immune response and is known to improve the function of immune cells, including T cells and macrophages, which protect the body from pathogens.
In fact, vitamin D is so important that low vitamin D levels are associated with increased susceptibility to infections, diseases, and immune disorders.
Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with reduced lung function, which can affect the body’s ability to fight respiratory infections.
There is currently no cure or treatment for COVID 19, but a few studies have examined the impact on the risk of contracting the new coronavirus SARS – CoV-2.
One of these reports, in a recent study, found that vitamin D use appeared to reduce the likelihood of adverse clinical outcomes and deaths in patients hospitalized with COVID 19.
This came from analyzed data from a large group of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic bronchitis.
Patients over 40 years of age were more likely to have at least one acute respiratory infection (ARI) and inadequate vitamin D levels than patients under 40 years of age.
They were indeed more ill, and were significantly more susceptible to respiratory disease and death than patients with no vitamin D deficiency.
Another recent study of 11,321 people from 14 countries showed that vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of acute lung disease (COPD), chronic bronchitis (COVID 19) and respiratory disease (COPD) by 12% in people with a risk of respiratory disease and in people with deficiency or inadequate vitamin D levels.
Overall, these studies show that vitamin D supplements can reduce the likelihood of most respiratory infections such as ARIs in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and those who have developed at least one other ARI.
Studies have also shown that they can improve immune responses from healthy diets and exercise can protect against respiratory diseases and overall protect against respiratory infections.
This protective effect is strongest in people with low vitamin D levels, but it is also stronger in people with higher vitamin D levels as well as higher vitamin C levels.
In addition, vitamin D deficiency is known to promote a process known as cytokine rush. Vitamin D supplements have also been shown to reduce the risk of this in older adults, who are more likely to develop respiratory diseases such as COVID 19.
Cytokines are proteins that are an integral part of the immune system and can play an important role in protecting against infections and diseases. They can have a significant impact on the development of diseases such as COVID19 and other respiratory diseases.
Vitamin D levels in the blood and the effects of diet on the development of diseases such as ARI and respiratory diseases, as well as inflammation are much more widely known in the past 20 years.
The cytokine storm refers to the release of a large number of cytokines that occur in response to infections and other factors. It has been shown that there is indeed a direct link between a low Vitamin D value and the ability to release a large number of these cytokines.
Disturbing or excessive release of cytokines increases the progression and severity of the disease and leads to severe tissue damage.
Vitamin D deficiency can increase cytokine levels, increase the risk of severe COVID 19 complications and is associated with reduced immune function.
Researchers therefore postulate that vitamin D supplementation can reduce the associated complications. While research in this area is ongoing, it is important to understand that taking additional vitamin D alone cannot protect against the development of COVID 19.
Several further clinical studies are currently investigating the effects of vitamin D supplementation on disease progression and its effects on cytokines and inflammation.
Consequently, the latest review found again that vitamin D supplements are most effective against ARI and only effective when taken daily, in a dose above 2000iu.
Vitamin D deficiency can increase the body’s overall susceptibility to infections and diseases by compromising immune function and increasing the risk of serious complications with infections such as COVID 19.
For this reason, it is a good idea to have your doctor test your vitamin D levels to see if you are lacking this important nutrient.
This is particularly important and worrying during the winter months, as many people are deficient in vitamin D and older people are at higher risk of developing serious COVID 19-related complications.
Depending on your blood level, a daily dose of 1,000 iu of vitamin D is sufficient for most people. However, people with lower blood values may need a much higher dose to increase their levels to the optimal range.
Keeping your home or workplace clean is also a big factor in keeping yourself safe this winter.