A growing body of research is beginning to show that taking vitamin D every day may be an important factor in protecting yourself from COVID-19.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association looked at the health data of 489 individuals who received a COVID test and also had vitamin D levels tested in the previous year. The researchers found that 19 per cent of vitamin-D deficient individuals tested positive for COVID, versus 12 per cent of patients who had sufficient levels.
A different study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine also found a correlation between living in more northern latitudes (associated with less vitamin D absorption from the sun throughout the year) and an increased risk of death from COVID 19 at the beginning stages of the pandemic. It is important to note, however, that higher temperatures and UV radiation may negatively affect the virus’s survival, contributing to these results.
Vitamin D deficiency has been known to play a role in respiratory infections and illnesses and is connected to pneumonia, tuberculosis and bronchiolitis, according to the World Health Organization.
There are two forms of vitamin D in our diet:
- Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol): found in some mushrooms.
- Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol): found in oily fish, fish liver oil and egg yolks.
D3 is the more powerful of the two types, and raises blood levels of vitamin D almost twice as much as D2.
Large amounts of vitamin D can also be made in your skin when it is exposed to UV-rays from sunlight. Any excess vitamin D is stored in your body fat for later use.
Every cell in your body has a receptor for vitamin D. This vitamin is involved in many processes, including bone health, immune system function and protection against cancer
The U.S. Institute of Medicine’s report on Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamin D and calcium recommends that adults get from 600-800 IU (15 – 20 micro grams) of vitamin D per day from their diet (the exact amount fluctuates based on age). However, some studies suggest that a higher daily intake of 1000–4000 IU (25–100 micrograms) is needed to maintain optimal blood levels.