Dr. Michael Holick from Boston University claims that patients older than 40 were more than 51% less likely to die from the virus when they had sufficient levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D can significantly reduce the risk of COVID19 infection and its impact, according to new researches in the US. Both studies claim that when people have sufficient levels of vitamin D they are less at risk of the infection. The leading infectious-disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has also recommended that people take their vitamins.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told actress Jennifer Garner that he takes vitamins C and D to ward off infections. "If you're deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection. I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself, taking vitamin D supplements," he said, according to Insider. "The other vitamin that people take is vitamin C because it's a good antioxidant, so if people want to take a gram or so of vitamin C, that would be fine," he said, according to Instagram Live.
One of the studies, published in the journal PLOS ONE, headed by Dr. Michael Holick from Boston University’s school of medicine, claims that patients older than 40 were more than 51% less likely to die from the virus when they had sufficient levels of vitamin D.
"There is great concern that the combination of influenza infection and a coronal viral infection could substantially increase hospitalization and death due to complications from these viral infections," Dr. Holick said, as per Independent. "It is prudent for everyone to take a vitamin D supplement to reduce the risk of being infected and having complications from Covid-19," Dr. Hollick said.
If you are looking to increase your vitamin D intake, here are three ways to do so:
You can always ask your physician about which brand of vitamin D supplement to take, in case you are deficient. The Institute of Medicine's recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, for vitamin D is set at 600 international units (IU) every day for young adults and 800 IU per day for adults older than 70, according to Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic recommends that adults consume at least the RDA of 600 IU while 1,000 to 2,000 IU per day of vitamin D from a supplement is generally safe.
Vitamin D can be consumed with some foods, such as egg yolks, cheese, cod liver oil, beef liver, and fatty fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel. However, the amount of vitamin D found in these foods may not be enough as they are quite small. In the U.S., most people get their dietary vitamin D from fortified foods, including milk, cereals, and some brands of yogurt and orange juice.
Even for those who consume fortified foods, it may not be enough. Consuming it through food is also hampered as those with health conditions that affect the gastrointestinal tract may not be able to absorb the vitamin. They might be predisposed to low vitamin D blood levels, according to Mayo Clinic.
It is also possible to get vitamin D through direct exposure to sunlight, but it varies on multiple factors. The Cleveland Clinic says that 15-20 minutes, three days per week, is sufficient but the season matters and geographic location matters. For instance, Cleveland, OH, doesn't get UV-B light for six months out of the year. The time of the day also matters as the sun's rays are most powerful between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Other factors that are important are cloud cover and air pollution. The melanin content of our skin is also one of the important factors. Melanin is what causes our skin to tan and the darker our skin is, the more sun exposure we will need to get sufficient vitamin D.
However, increasing vitamin D intake doesn't replace the use of masks, gloves, shields, and social distancing. Vitamin D is a way to fortify our health to avoid infections but while going outside, we still need to follow the precautions as the pandemic is not yet over. Multiple countries are trying to make a vaccine or a life-saving drug but no definite results have been found yet and it is crucial for us to take care of ourselves and our loved ones.