Vitamin D is a fat soluble nutrient that has been used for good health and protection against respiratory infections for over eighty years. Recent studies suggest that vitamin D supplementation may have a protective effect against viruses and COVID-19.
The studies show that coronavirus patients who are vitamin D deficient are more likely to suffer severe illness and increased risk of hospitalization or even death. What’s more, research has shown that patients who were given oral doses of vitamin D were less likely to be admitted into the ICU compared to those were not.
Vitamin D is known to help boost the body’s immune function. Vitamin D deficiency is a quite common around the world and in people with poor immunity to viral infections, as well as patients with COVID-19. Vitamin D insufficiency can worsen during winter months with shorter days and less time exposed to sunshine. Not to worry, it is possible to get this valuable vitamin from certain foods and supplementation.
Sources of vitamin D:
Natural, outdoor sunlight absorbed through the skin manufactures vitamin D in the body. It’s possible to meet some needed vitamin D this way. However, if you are covered up with clothing or sunblock it cuts down the amount the skin can make.
The following guidelines come from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with the assumption of little to no sun exposure.
• Oily fish—Salmon, swordfish, sardines, herring, halibut, tuna, and trout
• Fish oil
• Red meat and liver
• Egg yolks
• Mushrooms—Brown, portabella, white, Italian, or cremini
• Fortified foods—Milk, soy milk, orange juice, and cereals
Look for Vitamin D3—the biologically active form (rather than D2)
The NIH recommended daily amount
• Children — 1–13 years — 15 mcg (600 IU)
• Teens — 14–18 years — 15 mcg (600 IU)
• Adults — 19–70 years — 15 mcg (600 IU)
• Adults — 71 years and older — 20 mcg (800 IU)