Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey. Ph
Vitamin D affects many aspects of our immune system and resistance to infection, including COVID-19 and all other viruses. For Vitamin D to work, it has to be activated. Many immune system cells can activate Vitamin D. That’s an important finding. At one point, we thought only our kidneys could activate Vitamin D. Now we know that our T-cells, which trigger antibody responses, can actually convert Vitamin D into its active form. This shows how important this vitamin is to immunity.†
Vitamin D is needed to activate immune system cells, but also to control the immune system so it attacks the virus and doesn’t cause collateral damage to us. The damage to our body connected to COVID-19 comes from the cytokine storm, which represents out of control immune system activity leading to harm. Usually this battle is fought in our lungs and can cause severe lung damage or even death. Zinc can also help suppress dangerous immune system functions like this.†
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Research on Vitamin D and COVID-19
Here’s a study from the Angers University Hospital in France, published recently in the journal Nutrients. Elderly patients who previously had been taking Vitamin D3 supplements, which usually works better than Vitamin D2, are more likely to survive COVID-19, but a single standard dose of 80,000 units of Vitamin D3 after you’ve been infected is probably too late to have its protective effects generated.†
There’s a very fast-building archive of studies linked to Vitamin D deficiencies and more severe COVID-19 symptoms. There’s been inverse associations found in European countries between the level of Vitamin D in your blood and the number of COVID-19 cases, as well as with mortality. They’re finding a strong connection; if you lack this vitamin, you’re more likely to get COVID-19. The COVID-19 is more likely to be serious and with deadly consequences.†
The hospital in Angers, France wanted to see if Vitamin D, when taken regularly before you had COVID-19 or taken in a large dose after you developed COVID-19, had benefits to it. These studies were done in 77 frail, elderly COVID-19 patients aged between 78 and 100 years old. About half of these patients were women. They were hospitalized in the geriatric acute care unit of the hospital. The researchers found that, in the elderly patients who experienced severe COVID-19, Vitamin D supplementation taken on a regular basis before they got sick was strongly associated with less severe COVID-19 and better survival. But if they gave them an 80,000 unit capsule after the diagnosis, it didn’t improve their outcome, so Vitamin D is something you have to take on a daily basis.†
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Many studies are finding that, if you take Vitamin D on a regular basis, you have a reduced risk of respiratory tract infections in general. In fact, there was a meta-analysis showing that, where they took many studies and found that Vitamin D helps prevent respiratory tract infections, which can include anything from the flu to a cold to COVID-19, but also helps prevent pneumonia and helps prevent the severe consequences of these infections.†
Here’s a study from AZ Delta Hospital in Belgium. A Vitamin D deficiency on admission to the hospital was associated with 370% increased odds of dying from COVID-19. They found that nearly 60% of the patients with COVID-19 were Vitamin D deficient upon hospitalization. Men in the advanced stages of COVID-19 pneumonia showed the greatest deficit. Why should that happen? Women are treated for bone loss before and after menopause, so they’re getting Vitamin D. In general, there tends to be fewer women with very deficient Vitamin D compared to men. They looked at all these other comorbidities like obesity, diabetes and lung diseases and they found that it really is the Vitamin D. They go on to explain that numerous observational studies have shown that low VItamin D levels are a major predictor for poor COVID outcomes.†
Tune into the full podcast episode for more research on the relationship between Vitamin D and COVID-19.
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