Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin with various functions in the body. Vitamin D is critical for the immune system’s functioning. So many people wonder if adequate Vitamin D levels decrease COVID-19 risk?
There is currently no cure for COVID-19, but preventative measures such as physical distancing and proper hygiene can prevent you from getting contracting the virus.
Moreover, some studies suggest that having adequate Vitamin D levels decreases COVID-19 risk, maintains a healthy immune system, and prevents respiratory illnesses in general.
A recent study found that individuals hospitalized with COVID-19 who had sufficient vitamin D levels had a lower risk of adverse outcomes and death.
This article discusses how adequate Vitamin D levels decrease COVID-19 risks. And how taking this nutrient may help protect against respiratory conditions.
How Did Researchers Start Looking at Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is produced when the sun shines on your skin. It offers numerous other advantages, including bone health. It’s included in a wide range of meals and supplements.
Backman, the Northwestern researcher, says he wanted to help when the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread but wasn’t sure how. There were several unanswered questions. The first was the difference in death rates between countries.
Vitamin D’s role in immune system regulation, including its possible ability to suppress harmful cytokine production, is huge. For example, in the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, sunlight and vitamin D decreased the death rate.
Backman’s group focused more on the impact of vitamin D levels after the evidence on the role of the cytokine storm in COVID-19 emerged.
They estimated that about 17% of individuals with low vitamin D levels would get a severe COVID-19 infection. Only around 14% of those with adequate vitamin D levels would. There is a statistically significant difference. Because the numbers are based on a statistical model, we don’t know how much it will reduce mortality.
How do Vitamin D levels decrease COVID-19?
You need Vitamin D for the proper performance of your immune system. It serves as your body’s first line of defense against infection and disease.
This vitamin is essential for promoting immune response. It has anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory effects. And it is important for immune system defense activation.
Vitamin D also improves immune cells’ function that protects your body from diseases, such as T cells and macrophages.
Vitamin D is so important for an immune function that low levels increase susceptibility to infection, illness, and immunological-related diseases.
Low vitamin D levels, for example, increase the risk of TB, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Moreover, a lack of vitamin D decreases lung function. This may impact your body’s ability to fight respiratory infections.
So Vitamin D is important for immune system function. A lack of this nutrient may affect the immune system and increase your risk of infection and disease.
Can vitamin D protect against COVID-19?
Currently, there’s no cure or treatment for COVID-19. And few researchers have studied the effect of vitamin D supplements or vitamin D deficiency on the risk of getting the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
A recent study found that a blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of at least 30 ng/mL seems to help reduce the likelihood of adverse clinical outcomes and death in COVID-19 hospitalized patients.
Researchers analyzed the hospital records of 235 COVID-19 patients. Compared to vitamin D-deficient patients over the age of 40, individuals with adequate vitamin D levels were 51.5 percent less likely to suffer adverse outcomes such as becoming unconscious, hypoxia, and death.
Other research has found that vitamin D deficiency can decrease immune function. Also, it can increase the risk of respiratory illnesses.
Vitamin D supplements have also been shown in several studies to improve immune response and protect against respiratory infections.
Moreover, research has shown that vitamin D supplements can enhance immune response and protect against respiratory infections in general. Also, adequate Vitamin D levels decrease COVID-19 risks.
A recent study of 11,321 persons from 14 countries found that taking vitamin D supplements reduced the risk of acute respiratory infections (ARI). Overall, taking vitamin D supplements lowered the likelihood of having at least one ARI by 12%, according to the study. Those with the lowest levels of vitamin D benefited the most from the protective impact.
Moreover, the review discovered that vitamin D supplements were most effective at preventing ARI when taken in small dosages daily or weekly and were less effective when taken in larger, more widely spaced doses.
Supplementing with vitamin D can also lower mortality in older persons, who are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses like COVID-19.
Moreover, vitamin D deficiency also worsens a condition is known as a “cytokine storm”.
Cytokines are proteins that are essential to the immune system’s function. They can have both pro-and anti-inflammatory effects. And they play an important role in preventing infection and disease.
However, under certain circumstances, cytokines can cause tissue damage. For example, the uncontrolled release of pro-inflammatory cytokines in response to infection or other circumstances is called a cytokine storm. This dysregulated and excessive cytokine release causes severe tissue damage and accelerates disease progression and severity.
It is a major cause of multiple organ failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and a factor in the progression and severity of COVID-19.
Patients with severe COVID-19, for example, produce high amounts of cytokines, particularly interleukin-1 (IL-1) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) (IL-6). In addition, vitamin D deficiency reduces immune function, which could enhance the cytokine storm.
As a result, researchers believe that a vitamin D deficiency may increase the likelihood of severe COVID-19 complications. And vitamin D supplementation may minimize cytokine storms and uncontrolled inflammation in COVID-19 patients.
Multiple clinical trials are currently looking into the effects of vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19 patients.
Some studies in this area are ongoing. But it’s important to remember that vitamin D supplements won’t protect you from COVID-19. However, a lack of vitamin D may increase your susceptibility to infection and disease by impairing immune function.
This is especially concerning because many people are vitamin D deficient, especially the elderly, who are most at risk of having major COVID-19-related complications.
For these reasons, it’s a good idea to have your vitamin D levels checked by your doctor to see if you’re low in this important nutrient. This is especially important during the cold months.
Depending on your blood levels, 1,000–4,000 IU of vitamin D per day is usually enough for most people. However, those with low blood levels will frequently require much higher doses to reach an optimal range.
Viewpoints on what constitutes an optimal vitamin D level vary. But most experts agree that 30–60 ng/mL (75–150 nmol/L) are optimal.
The bottom line
Vitamin D serves a variety of functions in your body, including promoting immune system health. In addition, ACCORDING TO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE, Vitamin D may protect against respiratory infections, especially among people who are vitamin D deficient.
According to recent studies, adequate Vitamin D levels decrease COVID-19 risks.
Consult your doctor about taking vitamin D supplements to enhance your overall immune response.