It does not come as a surprise to me that vitamin D deficiency has recently been discovered to be a primary risk factor for severe COVID-19 infection and death. I have been talking about and educating my patients about the importance of good vitamin D supplements – not the cheapest ones, but the real ones – for many years.
Research has shown that maintaining adequate amounts of vitamin D may protect you from developing a multitude of ills including multiple sclerosis and various forms of cancers including ovarian, breast and prostate. https://www.insider.com/benefits-of-sunlight And now the news about possibly preventing COVID-19 is exciting and potentially lifesaving for so many.
According to a 2011 study, 41.6% of adults in the US are vitamin D deficient. This number goes up to 69.2% in Hispanics and 82.1% in African Americans. Common risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include, being elderly, being overweight or obese and having dark skin.
This makes sense when you look at the death rates from COVID. The Latino and African American populations have been hard hit by COVID-19, as have the elderly and those compromised due to obesity.
Not A Cure – A Preventative
While scientists around the world are scrambling to create a vaccine to cure COVID-19, the rest of us can be proactive and do something that can help us prevent becoming the next victim. For those of us who live in the sunshine state and those who live in the sunbelt, we have the greatest source of the best vitamin D at our disposal on a daily basis. However, we also know too much exposure to the sun is not healthy.
I think about the elderly who live in nursing homes who are not exposed to sunshine at all. It would be wonderful to be able to up their vitamin D intake via a good supplement and help strengthen them. Vitamin D boosts overall immune function by modulating innate and adaptive immune responses, reduces respiratory distress and improves overall lung function, helping to produce surfactants in the lungs that aid in fluid clearance.
Vitamin D Functions Like A Hormone
Another interesting bit of information about vitamin D is that unlike other vitamins, vitamin D functions like a hormone, and every single cell in your body has a receptor for it. Your body makes vitamin D from cholesterol when your skin is exposed to sunlight. A total of 15 minutes of sunshine a day is plenty. Though people with darker skin may need a little more exposure. If you cannot out into the sun, a good supplement can do the trick.
Spread The Word
Getting the word out about the lifesaving benefits of vitamin D supplementation — especially to the African American and Latino communities and the elderly in nursing homes — could have a significant impact on future hospitalization and death rates from COVID-19. If you have a loved one in a nursing home, taking the time to talk to the medical management about vitamin D testing and supplementation could also make a big difference in the general health of all the residents, as vitamin D is something that can strengthen your immune system in a matter of a few weeks and has many health benefits besides lowering your risk of a viral illness.
If you’d like to read an in-depth article about the studies on COVID-19 patients, click on this link: https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2020/11/09/covid-19-patients-vitamin-d-deficiency.aspx?cid_source=dnl&cid_medium=email&cid_content=art1HL&cid=20201109Z1&mid=DM706733&rid=1007355768
If you would like to discuss vitamin D supplementation, give my office a call.