Summertime during COVID-19 seems to be like relaxing news as the sun makes our skin produce more Vitamin D and this will help with our fight against this. This is the best time to enjoy the outside weather, pun intended!
The link between Vitamin D and COVID-19
Recent research suggests that safe levels of vitamin D will make SARS-CoV-2 virus infection less likely and decrease the inflammatory response of the body to the virus, helping us minimize serious complications.
And there is evidence to indicate that greater safety may be provided by increasing our vitamin D levels. A research which was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic found that supplements with vitamin D are healthy and protective against respiratory illnesses. Of the research participants, those with the lowest levels of vitamin D joining the research recorded the greatest reductions in infection rates when on the supplement.
There are clinical trials in progress that are working on finding the effect of vitamin D supplements on COVID-19 infection. We do not know at this time whether taking a moderate or high dose of vitamin D can avoid COVID-19 or decrease the incidence of serious complications.
Even though we still do not know much about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, there are ample reasons to believe that vitamin D helps your body fight against it.
Best ways to get Vitamin D
Nutrition and occasional sun exposure are our primary daily sources of vitamin D.
Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna, eggs, and sun-dried mushrooms are some of the foods that naturally have vitamin D. And several staples are fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, plant-based milk, almond milk, orange juice, and breakfast cereals.
When your skin is exposed to sunlight your body releases vitamin D. A perfect way to improve your vitamin D is to get outside to workout, but you do need to protect yourself from skin cancer. If you’re outside for an extended time you’ll want to use sunscreen to protect against harmful radiation from the sun.
What doctors say about getting the right amount of Vitamin D
The recommended daily allowance for vitamin D for most adults is 600 IU (for those over 70 the recommended amount is 800 IU). These requirements can be met with sun exposure and diet, but it may not work as effectively as this for everyone. Every individual synthesizes vitamin D from the sun in different ways, consume it from their diet, and process it in their bodies. Further, there are different levels of sun exposure considering latitudinal, geographical, and seasonal differences.
As you age, the ability of your skin to generate vitamin D decreases with exposure to the sun. To produce vitamin D, people with darker skin need more exposure to the sun.
Some diseases will put you at risk of deficiency. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and obese individuals may have low levels because vitamin D can be trapped by body fat and prevented from accessing the bloodstream. Diseases leading to poor absorption of fat, including coeliac disease and Crohn’s disease, can contribute to poor dietary absorption of vitamin D. Furthermore, people with chronic kidney or liver disease may not be able to process the vitamin D received from sun exposure or diet to the active vitamin D version used by the body.
Reports of people taking high doses of vitamin D to defend themselves against COVID-19 occur on a daily basis. At this time, there is no proof that high vitamin D doses can benefit. We will have to wait before certain clinical trials carry more information.
Vitamin D will always be essential for healthy bones, regardless of what COVID-19 research suggests in the future, so it is necessary to maintain normal vitamin D levels and prevent its deficiency as well. And we know that fixing low levels of vitamin D can improve the immune system. Therefore, try getting outside as much as you can and keep a balanced diet. Don’t forget to maintain the social distancing norm.