Several posts have explained the role of vitamin D in immunity and and thus the Covid virus – (can search on this blog under Infectious Disease). This post is simply an update about the expanded role of vitamin D status.
WHAT You Need to Know – Vitamin’s Immune Benefits
More than 70% of Americans have insufficient blood levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D supports the immune system’s response to illnesses of all kinds which may include COVID-19.
Past studies show that low levels of vitamin D are associated with increased rates and severity of viral infections.
Clinical trials have shown that vitamin D has a protective effect against respiratory tract infections.
Vitamin D and Viral Illness
Vital respiratory tract infections, such as flu, are more common during winter. One of the reasons for this may be seasonal variations in our vitamin D levels. During winter, we get less sun, leading to lower vitamin D production. That puts us at increased risk for viral infection. Low vitamin D is also a risk for more severe lung disease called acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This condition can lead to what is called a cytokine storm with hyper- production of inflammatory factors that can lead to death.
Vitamin D’s Protective Action
Vitamin D contributes to many functions that help shield the body from infections and lessen their severity. Maintaing adequate levels of vitamin D:
Interferes with the ability of viruses to replicate and produce more viral particles.
Helps support and repair heathly cellular linings in the body, including the airways of the lungs.
Increases production of proteins that shield against bacteria and viruses, enhancing the ability of cells to protect themselves from infection.
Improves the ability of immune cells to mount an effective attack against specific viruses.
Helps prevent the immune system from going overboard and producing excessive pro-inflammatory compounds in the lungs.
Unfortunately, vitamin D is found naturally in few foods in the diet. These are fish and seafood, fortified breakfast cereals, orange juice, regular milk, rice milk, soy milk, yogurt, and margarine Therefore, an oral supplement may be necessary. If you think you may not get enough D in your diet, please see your physician to discuss the benefits and side effects of vitamin D supplementation. There is a common blood test that he/she may suggest to indicate your blood level of this fat-soluble vitamin.
The Upper Limit is 100 mcg or 4,000 UL if you choose to take a supplement. Consequences of overdose may include: mental retardation in young children, abnormal bone growth and formation, nausea, diarrhea, irritability, weight loss, calcium deposition in organs such as kidneys, liver, and heart, toxicity is possible with long-term use of 10,000 daily.
Nutrition Now, Judith E. Brown, 7th Edition, 2013
Life Extension November, 2020