Vitamin D supplements can help avoid COVID-19 infection
Why are some people more susceptible to COVID-19 versus others? In addition to risk factors…
Why are some people more susceptible to COVID-19 versus others? In addition to risk factors such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, tobacco and opioid use, living arrangements and obesity, vitamin D deficiencies may play an important role in this pandemic.
In some, COVID-19 results in an over-response of the body’s immune system and causes serious illness and death. This over-response is called a “cytokine storm” and causes damage to the lungs and sets the stage for pneumonia. It is well-known that vitamin D is important for innate immunity, boosting immune function and suppression of an over-responsive immune system.
According to a recent study published in JAMA Open Network, vitamin D deficiency increases a person’s risk of COVID-19 by 77%, compared to those with sufficient levels of the nutrient (deficiency is less than 20 ng/mL). Cooper Clinic has assessed all patients’ vitamin D levels since 2007. Initially the average level was less than 30 ng/mL. Now the average level is almost 40 ng/mL primarily due to increased supplementation.
Vitamin D research has shown both weight and skin pigmentation affects synthesis of vitamin D. Another recent article published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology showed a direct relationship between low vitamin D status and a twofold increase in mortality for darker skinned people compared to lighter skinned people. A study published in the Annals of Epidemiology cites a fivefold increase in the risk of a positive COVID-19 test in African Americans.
Taking supplemental vitamin D3 daily (now recommended by Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health) might just be an inexpensive, safe way to help attack this pandemic. I always say, it is more beneficial and cost-effective to prevent disease than it is to find a cure.
Until a vaccine is available, there are several things you can do to help boost your immune system. This includes getting at least 30 minutes of exercise, collective or sustained, most days a week; consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; taking the right supplements including vitamin D3; getting seven to eight hours of sleep at night; refraining from smoking and using opioid drugs and using alcohol only in moderation (maximum of seven drinks per week). Exercise is more important now than ever, playing a key role in warding off illness and building a robust immune system.
Find a way to manage your stress during these times. Whether relaxing with a book, limiting social media, taking a nap, walking the dog or getting a massage, de-stressing can be of great value in building a healthy immune system.
Public health steps that have been proven beneficial according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include wearing a mask, washing hands often, practicing social distancing, refraining from touching your face and staying home if you are sick.
Dr. Kenneth Cooper is founder of Cooper Aerobics. To learn more about his thinking on vitamin D: “Vitamin D and COVID-19: Is There a Relationship?”
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