There has been no shortage of potential solutions to help your body fend against COVID-19. The trouble is, since this is a novel virus, we don’t know exactly which supplements, drugs, or vaccines prove to be the most effective.
But if we have any hope of putting this pandemic (and the “new normal” of the past year of wearing masks, social distancing, and lockdowns) behind us, we have to examine possible remedies and boost our immune system so we’re less susceptible to severe symptoms. Whether it’s for COVID-19, a variant of COVID-19, or another virus that pops up in the future.
One of the vitamins that has gained a lot of traction in the fight against COVID-19 is vitamin D. A lot of the early research suggested vitamin D is crucial for mitigating the symptoms of COVID-19. But recent reports suggest the opposite.
In this article, we’ll examine the top reasons vitamin D aids in the fight against COVID-19 as well as the top reasons vitamin D doesn’t improve COVID-19 symptoms or reduce infections.
Let’s jump right into it…
Why Vitamin D Might Reduce COVID-19 Symptoms and Severity
First, let’s review some of the best reasons why scientists and researchers believe that vitamin D is a crucial ingredient in the fight against COVID-19.
There’s a good amount of evidence that vitamin D helps prevent infection of COVID-19 and prevents severe symptoms from developing from COVID-19.
For starters, people with lower vitamin D levels in their body are more susceptible to upper respiratory tract infections — like COVID-19. A meta-analysis study published back in 2012 found that people who supplemented with vitamin D were less likely to develop acute respiratory tract infections. Especially if those supplementing with vitamin D already had low levels.
Another reason vitamin D could help your body fight against COVID-19 is because it boosts your immune system — specifically your natural defenses against bacteria and viruses. And it can also reduce the severity of your symptoms because it has many anti-inflammatory effects.
Every immune cell in your body has vitamin D receptors. These receptors main functions are to suppress inflammation, promote immune-balance, and support the proper function of your immune cells.
One example is with T-cells. They communicate with all the other immune cells in your body and coordinate attacks against invaders. With COVID-19, the activation of your T-cells could be the difference between having a mild or asymptomatic case of COVID-19 or a severe or even fatal case.
One of the most dangerous problems with severe COVID-19 cases is that it incites a cytokine storm in your lungs. A cytokine storm is when your body has an aggressive reaction to a virus — causing your immune system to “attack” you. When your immune system over responds to an intruder (such as the COVID-19 virus), it can fill your lungs with fluid that basically drown an infected person.
However, since vitamin D suppresses inflammation and promotes immune-balance, having sufficient levels of vitamin D could help stop a cytokine storm before it happens.
Which leads me into 3 studies in particular I want to mention. Two of these studies came out in the very early days of COVID — while the last one was published more recently.
The first study comes from Indonesia back in April 2020. Researchers found that around 96% of COVID-related deaths in Indonesia came from patients who had a vitamin D deficiency — whereas only 4% of the deaths were from patients who had sufficient vitamin D levels.
The main problem with this study is that it was not peer-reviewed.
The second study comes from researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). They found that of 235 people admitted to the hospital with COVID-19, patients older than 40 years old were 51.5% less likely to die from the virus if they had sufficient vitamin D levels.
But this study had a small sample size, which could interfere with the accuracy of the report.
The final study comes from Spain in October of 2020.
They found that patients who had sufficient vitamin D levels who were infected with COVID-19 had a
- 54% lower chance of lung impairment
- 52% lower chance of needing admitted to the ICU
- 49% lower chance of needing medication
- 33% shorter hospital visit
Then, they took it a step further:
The randomly allocated COVID-infected adults to receive vitamin D supplementation alongside the standard medical treatment all patients received.
Out of 76 COVID-19 patients, 50 received vitamin D supplementation and 26 did not.
Only 1 of the 50 patients who received vitamin D ended up in ICU. And nobody from this group passed away. Whereas 13 out of the 26 people who didn’t receive vitamin D ended up in the ICU and 2 patients in this group passed away.
According to this limited study, vitamin D reduced ICU visits by 97%!
Again, like the other studies, this was a limited sample size which could sway the results.
Now, let’s discuss some of the reasons vitamin D might not be that effective against COVID-19.
Why Vitamin D Might Be Ineffective Against COVID-19 Symptoms and Severity
The biggest problem with the studies I mentioned above is that they’re from small sample sizes. In order to accurately decipher the link between low vitamin D levels and COVID-19, larger studies need to be done.
And there are a few studies that seem to suggest vitamin D plays no discernable role in preventing COVID-19 or reducing the severity of symptoms.
An Italian study first published in November 2020 found that there was no significant association between vitamin D and COVID-19. However, another Italian study released on the same day suggests lower vitamin D levels are linked to an increased risk of COVID-19 infection, but that comorbidities and age play a more important role in severity and fatality than vitamin D does.
To make the picture even cloudier…
A third Italian study of 324 patients found that supplementing with vitamin D was not linked to a higher hospitalization rate, but it was linked to a higher risk of dying if the person became hospitalized. (Which could be due to lower vitamin D levels in the past — before the pandemic started.)
In other words, there are several different studies which all have wildly different results on the possible connection between vitamin D and COVID-19 infection and severity.
The truth is researchers will need to conduct more (and larger) studies. The problem with that is this takes time – and we likely won’t find out until after this pandemic is a distant memory.
Conclusion: Should you take vitamin D?
42% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. And 77% of Americans have insufficient levels of vitamin D.
And there are a few reasons why:
1. Vitamin D is hard to get from your regular diet. You can get Vitamin D from egg yolks, milk, cheese, beef or calf liver and certain fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines. And some foods are fortified with Vitamin D — like soy milk and orange juice.
But other than that, it’s pretty hard to get enough Vitamin D from your diet.
2. While the sun is an excellent, free source of vitamin D, it’s not always easy to get an adequate amount of vitamin D from the sun – especially during the cold, grey winter months. And, the sun can be really hard to find in some areas of the country.
How much time do you have to spend in the sun to get an adequate amount of vitamin D?
It varies by location and season. But 30 minutes of midday, unprotected sun exposure on your arms and legs is usually enough for your necessary daily amount of vitamin D. Have you gotten that today?
Also, make sure you put on sunscreen after spending 30 minutes in the sun soaking up vitamin D. Too much time in the sun completely unprotected can be harmful.
That’s why supplementing with Vitamin D is so important — whether it protects you from COVID-19 or not. Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins you can take in general. In fact, vitamin D isn’t just an ordinary vitamin. Instead, it acts like a hormone in your body and affects nearly 3,000 genes in your body.
Supplementing with vitamin D when you can’t get it from the sun or your diet can help:
- Slow down aging
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce feelings of depression — particularly seasonal depression
- Improve brain function
- Boost your immune health
- Strengthen your bones
- And may even help with the big “C” word we are not supposed to mention – because it’s been shown to inhibit it’s cell growth
Among several other health benefits of vitamin D.
If you don’t think you get enough Vitamin D from your food, live in a cloudy area, or just want to take extra precautions for yourself and your family, below is the Vitamin D supplement I take.
Perfect D3 Drops from Perfect Supplements
These are citrus-flavored Vitamin D3 Drops. It’s one of the safest and most natural ways to supplement with Vitamin D3 — 5 (tasty) drops in water or right on your tongue will do the trick. Plus, it’s vegetarian-friendly.
You can order a bottle here: https://www.nourishingworld.com/perfect-d3-drops/
Whether it’s effective or ineffective against COVID-19 and its variants or not, vitamin D is a staple supplement to add to your daily wellness regimen — especially when you don’t spend enough time in the sun.
So order a bottle above — and don’t forget to go outside and enjoy the sun 🙂