Vitamin D and COVID-19

March 16, 2021

Guest Post by Bonnie Pace, MS, CNS, LDN

As COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our nation, doctors and researchers have looked for ways to help boost our body’s ability to protect itself. 

One nutrient has stood out in the science research and reviews, and that is Vitamin D.  Early on in the pandemic, when looking for links between people hospitalized with COVID-19, it was shown that Vitamin D deficiency was a marker in those who were most ill and had a higher rate of mortality (as many as 80% of patients had this deficiency). 

This is bad news and good news. As a nation, we are chronically Vitamin D deficient. A study from 2011 found that over 40% of adults in the U.S. are deficient. People with darker skin are at even higher risk, with black Americans at 82% and Hispanic Americans at 69% deficient. The good news is that we have the ability to overcome these staggering statistics. 

The main way we absorb Vitamin D is through our skin. This has become a challenge in the past decade as we have spent less time outdoors and we have (for good reason) used sunscreen as a health standard. Spending time out in the fresh air and sunlight is one of the best ways to get Vitamin D into your system. Another way to raise your levels of Vitamin D are by consuming foods that are good sources. Some Vitamin D rich foods include fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals. The NIH puts together a wealth of information on nutrients in foods and you can read about Vitamin D here.

Another option is adding a Vitamin D supplement. This is an easy fix for a lot of people because the capsules are small and relatively inexpensive. Vitamin D3 is the most bioavailable, meaning it is the most effective. General recommendations are to take between 400-800 IUs. Keep in mind if you are taking a calcium supplement and a multivitamin, they may also contain D3, so count those toward your daily totals.  

The benefits of Vitamin D go beyond protecting yourself from the effects of COVID-19.  A study published just this month found that Vitamin D can also reduce the mortality rate of cancer. 

And if you are science geek like me and just can’t get enough of how powerful adding something as simple as Vitamin D foods can be to your health, here are a couple additional studies:

 Association of Vitamin D Status and Other Clinical Characteristics With COVID-19 Test Results 

Vitamin D and COVID-19: why the controversy? 

 

For more nutrition…

If you want to talk to a professional about your health and how food can play a part in reversing and preventing disease, schedule your one-on-one appointment with Bonnie Pace now! She can be reached at 410-531-0800 x2303 or bonnie.pace@columbiaassociation.org. 

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