Why You Need Vitamin D To Help Support and Fight Viruses Including COVID-19
Hey guys, it's Dr. Green here with some great information for all of you on Vitamin D in Cornelius. This is often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin," but many people may not realize that vitamin D is actually a hormone. It should probably be called the "immunity" hormone thanks to its positive effects on the immune system. It also plays an essential role in overall brain health, blood sugar regulation, our mood, memory, weight metabolism, and other important bodily processes.
Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with approximately 200 conditions, including brain health/mental health issues such as depression, autism, and psychosis, autoimmune diseases such as MS, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes, thyroid dysfunction, obesity as well as heart disease and cancer. Low vitamin D has also been associated with memory problems and dementia.
Research overwhelmingly supports the possible role of vitamin D in protecting against autoimmune diseases, depression, cognitive function, and more. For example, a 2008 study that followed 441 overweight and obese adults with depression for one year showed a significant decrease in symptoms with those who took vitamin D versus placebo. Another study showed people who took vitamin D over a month had a significant drop in fatigue.
At Lake Norman Integrative Wellness, we test the vitamin D levels of all of our patients, and the vast majority of them have very low levels. A report in the Journal Archives of Internal Medicine from 2009 looked at vitamin D levels for American adults in 1988-1994 compared with 2001-2004 and showed that our levels are dropping. The percentage of people with levels of 30 ng/mL or more fell from 45% to 23%. Or 77% of Americans have vitamin D3 levels BELOW the lower lab reference limit of 30.
This means that 3 out of 4 Americans have low levels of this important vitamin. This becomes even more important now as we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Medical providers and scientists are struggling to figure out why some people seem to do great with Coronavirus exposure and some seem to have serious risk.
In fact, an April 2, 2020 journal article in Nutrients discusses how Vitamin D supplementation could reduce risk of influenza and COVID-19 infections and deaths. The article reviews the roles of vitamin D in reducing the risk of respiratory tract infections, discussing in specifics the mechanisms by which vitamin D reduces these risks of infection. The major mechanisms involve reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines or immune cells that produce inflammation and injure the lungs.
We also know that studies including several clinical trials have shown that vitamin D reduced the risk of influenza. We know vitamin D deficiency contributes to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome which is the primary cause of death for many COVID-19 patients who end up on ventilators. Of course, randomized controlled trials and large population studies should be conducted to evaluate these recommendations long-term.
To reduce the risk of infection, the journal research is recommending that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d. The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40-60 ng/mL (100-150 nmol/L).
For treatment of people who become infected with COVID-19, higher vitamin D3 doses might be useful.
I personally use an emulsified vitamin D3 liquid supplement which has very few ingredients and is very high quality. It also costs an average of less than $5/month for patients who dose at this higher level. If you want to order vitamin D3 or any other supplements, feel free to call our office at 704-987-3993 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can get you ordered.
Yours in health,
Dr. Akiba Green