We know that improving lifestyle factors (diet, sleep and exercise) can help boost your immune system, but the importance of Vitamin D should not be underestimated. A study published by the journal Aging Clinical and Experimental Research states, “COVID-19 is caused, beside the virus virulence, by the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Vitamin D has been found to modulate macrophages’ response, preventing them from releasing too many inflammatory cytokines and chemokines .”
Vitamin D is not just a vitamin, it acts as a hormone. It’s synthesized by the skin in the body from direct UVB sunlight. It’s difficult to get enough Vitamin D from our food and the best way is from the sun. However, modern society has made us afraid of the sun and any sunscreen or sunblock will block Vitamin D synthesis. Vitamin D is needed for every metabolic function in the body. It modulates DNA, which means it turns on and off gene expression. Unfortunately, Vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic, with >40% of the US population being deficient, having <20 ng/mL.
How do I get enough Vitamin D?
- You can measure your Vitamin D status by requesting the test (25-Hydroxy) from your doctor.
- Optimal levels >40 ng/mL and may even reach 80-90 ng/mL in athletes. Levels >90 ng/mL may warrant further investigation.
- D3 is the more usable form in the body and can be found in animal sources. D2 is the less usable form and found in plant sources.
- You can get Vitamin D with healthy sun exposure, exposing as much skin as possible, without burning. Wait 10-30 minutes (depending on how fair skinned you are) before applying sunscreen to maximize Vitamin D synthesis.
- Supplementing with Vitamin D in the winter months if you live in the northern latitude (which is the majority of the USA). Make sure your Vitamin D3 supplement has K2 to ensure the calcium goes where it’s supposed to in the body (in the bone and not the tissues). A good recommendation would be Seeking Health Vitamin D3 + K2.
If you are interested in working with a nutritionist, please contact Mai Wagner, Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner at the OFJCC at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can learn more about the Functional Nutritional Therapy offerings here.
Ilie PC, Stefanescu S, Smith L. The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2020;32(7):1195-1198. doi:10.1007/s40520-020-01570-8
Bear in mind…
Please consult your physician for personalized medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice or treatment because of something you have read on the Live Fully Blog.