Aug 15 2020

Is there a Connection between Vitamin D and Severity of COVID 19 cases?

Published by at 2:45 pm under General

Is there a connection between Vitamin D and the severity of COVID 19 cases?
Vitamin D is essential for good health but may also play a role in the fight against COVID-19.

Sunshine on your shoulders does more than make you happy, it makes you healthy. Getting adequate exposure to the sun helps our bodies manufacture this important vitamin ourselves.

Vitamin D sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” is produced in the skin when it is exposed to direct sunlight. It’s fat-soluble, and part of a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3. (1,2)*

Unlike other compounds, it isn’t actually a nutrient, but rather a hormone. It doesn’t occur naturally in very many foods, with the exception of egg yolks, salmon, and other fish to include sardines, and shrimp but can be found in “fortified” foods such as milk, orange juice, and cereal which contain a synthetic version. But Vitamin D is so unique in that our own bodies are the manufacturers of it. When our skin is exposed to the sun, we get much of the Vitamin D we need. And we don’t need to overdo it…just fifteen minutes of sunshine a day gives us adequate amounts of Vitamin D. (1,2)*

Vitamin D has several important functions. These include regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, facilitating normal immune system function, helping build strong bones and teeth as well as improving resistance to diseases. 1*

There have been many studies looking at the benefits of Vitamin D intake. According to a 2006 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Vitamin D may reduce your risk of multiple sclerosis. It may also decrease your chance of developing heart disease, based on some 2008 findings which were published in the journal Circulation. It also reduces the likelihood of developing the flu according to 2010 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin D also plays a role in boosting mood and fighting off depression. In another study, those taking a daily Vitamin D and calcium supplement were able to lose more weight than those who received a placebo supplement. It is believed that the extra calcium and vitamin D had an appetite-suppressing effect.1*

But in certain areas of the country and during different times of the year, or depending on your living situation, it is not always easy to get our Vitamin D through sunlight…some of the barriers to getting it are:

  • Using sunscreen
  • Living in areas with high pollution
  • Staying indoors
  • Big city life where buildings block our exposure to sunlight
  • Having darker skin. (Less Vitamin D is absorbed in skin with higher levels of melanin

Vitamin D has been getting a lot of buzz of late in regards to the Coronavirus. While “…most people are unlikely to be helped by it, many potentially could be…”, according to Dr. James Hamblin in his June 3rd article in The Atlantic, in which he responded to a question from a reader regarding this important Vitamin.

Vitamin D stands out as a dietary supplement that’s steadily gained attention and “actual scientific traction”.  In fact, taking it to mitigate the threat of COVID-19 was among the earlier suggestions which came out of early virus researchers in China. As early as February 2020, two researchers named Lei Zhang and Yunhui Liu from China Medical University were seeking out of the box approaches to fighting this virus that they feared would become a pandemic. (They were right). Based on prior knowledge of other coronaviruses, they examined research on all types of nutrients and minerals, from iron and omega-3 fatty acids to zinc and flavonoids, in the hopes that something might stand out. 2*

Among this research were Vitamin D deficiency and the populations being most affected by the virus. Even though very little sunlight is needed to avoid a deficiency, it is common for those who live in nursing facilities, hospitals, are stuck in the house (most of us during a shelter in place), or in prisons. The researchers noticed that the coronavirus mainly affected these same populations so it was thought possible that  “…Vitamin D could work as another therapeutic option for the treatment of this novel virus…”2*

But, there are many variables here. Indoor, crowded places are perfect breeding grounds for viral transmission, and those residing in nursing homes are mostly older and have preexisting conditions, whether they are Vitamin D deficient or not, making them more vulnerable to a severe case of COVID-19. 2*

There have been other connections to support the vitamin-D hypothesis. “…In April, a small study from the Philippines showed a correlation between vitamin-D levels and better outcomes for patients with the disease. In May, a study led by Vadim Backman, a professor at Northwestern University, found a similar correlation between severe vitamin-D deficiency and death rates among people with COVID-19. His research team found that, in general, people in countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates had lower levels of vitamin D compared with patients in countries that were not as severely affected…”2*

There is more supporting evidence to suggest a correlation. Vitamin D plays an important role in regards to the immune system, specifically in the “…maturation of some white blood cells…”  Low levels of vitamin D has shown to make people susceptible to various infectious diseases, to include upper respiratory tract infections.2*

In addition to fortifying the immune system, vitamin D may help prevent it from becoming overactive. Those with adequate vitamin-D levels were “…less likely to experience a cytokine storm, a misdirected inflammatory response that ultimately kills many people with COVID-19…” Vitamin D may decrease the risk of serious outcomes by helping to “…appropriately calibrate the inflammatory response…”2*

While clinical trials are underway, nothing has been proven regarding Vitamin D and its effect on one’s reaction to COVID -19. Researchers have suggested that in the meantime it is a good precautionary measure to take small amounts of Vitamin D, especially if you are not getting it through the sunshine. Many people are staying in more than usual and assisted living and nursing home residents have a hard time getting the natural dose of sunshine they need. Health officials in the UK feel strongly enough about it that they have suggested people supplement with Vitamin D for the remainder of the pandemic. Scientists agree it can’t hurt in low doses and even if it helps some, it is worth it.(1,2)*  

The Institute of Medicine recommends that those aged one year of age to 70 years take in 600 IUs daily in order to maintain a healthy level of Vitamin D in the blood. Those over the age of 70 should get 800 IUs a day. Unless you are deficient, to begin with, you most likely will not see any benefit. You can find out if you are deficient through a blood test. Taking excessive amounts of Vitamin D can be harmful, so don’t take too much. And, it won’t prevent you from getting COVID-19, but it might mitigate the severity of the disease. Taking Vitamin D or any other supplement, including Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ can benefit your health in other important ways, primarily to boost your immune system but IT IS NOT A REPLACEMENT for social distancing, mask-wearing or handwashing! 3*

From all of us at Body Biotics™, we hope you are staying strong, safe, and healthy. Get outside for daily sunshine and exercise whenever possible. Follow preventative measures to help prevent the spread of this virus and we will all get through this!

Healthiest wishes,





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