As COVID-19 continues to sweep the nation, researchers are hard at work to uncover factors that impact our risk and prognosis from contracting the virus. In addition to following the CDC’s guidelines for COVID prevention, a recent study suggests vitamin D supplementation is key.
How Does COVID-19 Affect The Respiratory System?
As most of us know after several life-changing months of social distancing, COVID-19 is a viral respiratory tract infection that’s severity ranges from mild to severe. In severe cases, COVID-19 leads to hospitalizations and ICU stays due to acute respiratory distress or sepsis.
These severe cases are believed to be due to the body creating a cytokine storm. This happens when the body becomes overwhelmed, leading the immune system to produce too many cytokines in the blood at one time. Generally speaking, cytokines are important for a normal immune response; but when a cytokine storm takes place, it can lead to multiple organ failure or even death.
How Vitamin D Protects Our Immune System
Vitamin D is a powerful micronutrient. Actually, vitamin D is not a vitamin at all; it’s a prohormone. This means after undergoing a couple of activation processes in the body, it acts as a steroid hormone. Once this occurs, vitamin D binds to receptors on our cells, and has the ability to turn genes on and off as needed.
Vitamin D assists in regulating all our major bodily systems, including our immune system. In addition to increasing proteins that kill bacteria, known as antimicrobial peptides, vitamin D inhibits the cytokine storm.
New Research On Vitamin D And COVID-19 Severity
Now more than ever before, it is crucial to identify ways we can modify our environment or lifestyle to protect our health. Vitamin D is proving to be one of those simple but crucial steps we can take.
In a newly published study, researchers assessed the relationship between vitamin D status and COVID-19 severity in 42 patients hospitalized for acute respiratory failure due to the infection. Here is what they discovered:
- 81% of patients were vitamin D deficient (levels below 30 ng/ml).
- Those who were severely deficient had a 50% risk of mortality within 10 days.
- Those whose levels were greater than 10 ng/ml only experienced a 5% risk of mortality in the same time frame.
Vitamin D And COVID-19 Summary
Vitamin D is safe, affordable, and crucial to our overall health and ability to fight infection. That’s why our team here at Go Integrative Health recommends supplementing with vitamin D when you are unable to get some mid-day sun exposure. Are you concerned you may be deficient? Contact us to have your vitamin D levels tested and pick up your bottle of vitamin D today!