Some recent reports suggest that the severity of COVID-19 might be linked to the vitamin D levels of the patient. However, how much of this is true?
For a better understanding of how vitamin D may affect to this disease, it is important to know about its function in the human body. Vitamin D is essential for keeping a healthy immune system, since to a certain extent it is responsible for the regulation of our immune defence system’s response to various infections.
How to get vitamin D
We get vitamin D from two main sources:
- Dietary intake: vitamin D is found naturally in fishes such as tuna and salmon, liver, eggs, dairy products, and some fruits and vegetables like avocados and peas.
- The sun, which is the major source of vitamin D for humans.
What is the link between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19?
According to a study by researchers at Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital in Santander, 80% of hospitalised patients showed a vitamin D deficiency, as well as high levels of ferritin and D-dimer, which are both causes for the hyperinflammatory state associated with COVID-19. It was also observed that these patients had a higher mortality rate and needed a longer hospitalization.
That’s why vitamin D deficiency is associated with more severe cases of COVID-19.
Who should take vitamin D?
Considering the fact that, according to estimates by the journal Revista de osteoporosis y metabolismo mineral, 50% of Spanish population between ages 18-60 and more than 87% of Spanish people over 60 years old show a vitamin D deficiency, it can be said that getting vitamin D through supplements is really important for general population, specially now, when confinement measures have resulted in a lower sunlight exposure.
Is it safe to take vitamin D supplements?
Getting too much vitamin D can be harmful and toxic for your body.
High levels of this vitamin in your blood can cause a calcium accumulation, which may result in mild symptoms, osseous diseases or even death.
Despite this, vitamin D has a wide safety margin, and therefore it is difficult to reach levels of toxicity. In fact, it would take ingesting a significant amount of vitamin D supplements per day to do so.
How much vitamin D is recommended daily?
The recommended dose of vitamin D will be best determined on an individual basis, depending on the range of age and other personal circumstances. For this reason, it is important to consult with a health professional for advice.
The recommended intake of vitamin D for general population is about 600 IU per day for adults and children, and about 400 IU per day for toddlers between 7 and 11 months of age.
As you may already have realized, vitamin D can become a good ally in these times of pandemic.
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Information Source: Official College of Pharmacists of Valladolid’s Food Committee.