A new clinical trial will test the effects of vitamin D supplements on COVID-19 \ ˈkō-vid-nīn-ˈtēn : a mild to severe respiratory illness that is caused by a coronavirus (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 of the genus Betacoronavirus), is transmitted chiefly by contact with infectious material (such as respiratory droplets), and is characterized especially by fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may progress to pneumonia and respiratory failure. patients to determine if vitamin D can help fight COVID-19 illness. Research shows vitamin D helps prevent acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and plays a role in inhibiting inflammatory reactions, both of which contribute to severity and death in COVID-19 patients.
Several small studies have found a correlation between severe vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 death rates. These studies indicated, in general, that people in countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates had lower levels of vitamin D compared with patients in countries that were not as severely affected.
There is no direct causal link yet between vitamin D deficiency and increased susceptibility to COVID-19.
Study of Vitamin D Supplements & COVID-19 Severity
Taking vitamin D to mitigate the threat of COVID-19 was one of the earliest suggestions to come from virus vi·rus | \ ˈvī-rəs : a disease-causing agent that is too tiny to be seen by the ordinary microscope, that may be a living organism or may be a very special kind of protein molecule, and that can only multiply when inside the cell of an organism researchers in China. Now a new clinical trial will test the effects of vitamin D supplements on COVID-19 patients who have not yet developed severe symptoms of the disease. The study is being conducted by Arizona State University in conjunction with the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine.
Researchers will administer supplemental vitamin D to COVID-19 positive patients who are found to have a vitamin D deficiency. After two weeks, researchers will measure participants’ vitamin D levels and measure any changes in the severity of COVID-19 symptoms. The phase 1 clinical trial will continue to track symptoms at four weeks and six weeks after initial treatment.
In addition to measuring vitamin D, the study will also measure other nutrients that are important for overall health, such as vitamin C, which is vital to your body’s healing process.
Vitamin D’s Role in the Body’s Immune System
Vitamin D is most famous for its role in bone health, but it plays an essential role in the immune system : the bodily system that protects the body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues by producing the immune response and that includes especially the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, special deposits of lymphoid tissue (as in the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow), macrophages, lymphocytes including the B cells and T cells, and antibodies.. Vitamin D interferes with the majority of the immune system’s cells such as macrophages, B and T lymphocytes (T Cells), and neutrophils, which play a role in fighting infection in·fec·tion | \ in-ˈfek-shən a : the state produced by the establishment of one or more pathogenic agents (such as a bacteria, protozoans, or viruses) in or on the body of a suitable host b : a disease resulting from infection and viruses. Vitamin D inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increases the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Vitamin D also helps the body form and stimulate a peptide called Cathelicidin, which has shown antimicrobial activity against bacteria, fungi and viruses.
Vitamin D also facilitates absorption of Dietary supplement used to promote bones, muscles, and heart to function properly. Bones in the body do not producer calcium, although it can be taken through foods and vitamins. Calcium in the bloodstream is used to send nerve signals, release hormones like insulin and regulate how muscles and blood vessels contract and dilate. and phosphate, which are needed for bone growth and strength. A growing body of evidence suggests a synergistic effect of vitamin K combined with vitamin D. Vitamin K also activates proteins that play a role in blood clotting, calcium metabolism and heart health. A pro vitamin that stimulates calcium and phosphate absorption from the small intestine and promotes secretion of calcium from bone to blood. This helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, This is important for building bones and preventing bone disease. It can also support immune, brain, and nervous system health. and Vitamin K2 activates proteins that play a role in blood clotting, calcium metabolism, and heart health. This is important for the calcification of bones and prevents the calcification of blood vessels and kidneys because it regulates calcium deposition. ensure that calcium is absorbed easily and reaches the bone mass, while preventing arterial calcification, or clogged arteries.
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Who is More Vitamin D Deficient?
Only about 10% of the vitamin D in our bodies originates from food. The remainder is synthesized in the skin through exposure to ultraviolet light in sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency is more common among people over 65, those who are Black or of Asian origin and people with darker skin, those whose nutrition is lacking in fish and dairy, and individuals with obesity. Higher body mass index (BMI), older age, and socioeconomic deprivation are all factors that could affect both the risk of COVID-19 and levels of the vitamin. These groups of people are also known to have an increased risk of developing severe COVID-19.
Some medications such as laxatives, steroids and cholesterol-lowering drugs also inhibit absorption of vitamin D.
Should I take a Vitamin D Supplement?
Vitamin D helps support the immune system and can also help prevent infections in the upper respiratory tract. The UK’s National Health Service, recommends that people take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter months, when sunlight exposure may be limited. The NHS’s latest advice is for people to consider taking a supplement during the summer months, as well, if they are spending more of their time indoors as a result of the pandemic (pan·dem·ic) : an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population : a pandemic outbreak of a disease.. The aim of this recommendation is to support bone and muscle health, rather than to protect against COVID-19.
“Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of both respiratory viral infections and inflammatory conditions. Vitamin D has an important regulatory role in the human immune system, so a deficiency of vitamin D is likely to cause immune dysregulation, which may reduce the first line of our defense against COVID-19,” the authors said. “It is therefore biologically plausible that vitamin D deficiency may contribute to susceptibility to COVID-19 infection.”
According to a 2020 review, 50% of the worldwide population has insufficient levels of vitamin D. In the United States, 35% of adults have the deficiency.
Recommended Vitamin D levels
For most people, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 400 to 600 IU (international units) per day for adults with inadequate sun exposure. Vitamin D supplementation of 700 to 800 IU per day reduces fractures in older adults. To prevent vitamin D deficiency, the recommended intake of vitamin D is 400 IU per day for infants and children with inadequate sun exposure.
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Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Lack of vitamin D plays a role in heart disease : an abnormal condition of the heart or of the heart and circulation (such as coronary heart disease, arrhythmia, or heart-valve defect) and high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, osteoarthritis, and some cancers, including prostate and breast cancer.
Excessive fatigue and tiredness may be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Taking supplements may help improve energy levels.
Other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Bone & Joint Pain
- Back Pain
- Frequent Infections or Illness
- Slow Wound Healing
- Bone Fractures
- Hair Loss
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