We’ve all heard that vitamin D is important for strong bones. It’s also been studied for its role in preventing depression, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. And a recent study shows that it could also be helpful in the fight against COVID-19.
Before we get into that, let’s take a closer look at this powerhouse vitamin.
There are a few foods that provide vitamin D such as fatty fish, mushrooms, egg yolks and fortified milk. But the primary source, for most of us, is good old sunshine.
Now for the bad news: Over 40 percent of Americans are believed to be deficient in vitamin D. That might be because of vigilant sunscreen use or because we’re just not getting outside enough. And in the winter, our opportunity to catch some rays can be few and far between.
The solution is to take vitamin D supplements—under a doctor’s supervision, as too much vitamin D carries its own risks, including kidney damage.
What Science Says About Covid-19 and Vitamin D
So let’s get back to the link between vitamin D and COVID-19. One study done by Anglia Ruskin University found an association between low levels of vitamin D and high numbers of COVID-19 cases and mortality rates across 20 European countries.
Another study by the University of Chicago found that patients with vitamin D deficiencies were almost twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared to those with enough vitamin D. The study concluded that “testing and treatment for vitamin D deficiency to address COVID-19 warrants aggressive pursuit and study.”
Yet another study conducted in Israel found that vitamin D supplements could help people avoid serious respiratory effects of COVID-19. Its conclusion stated that low vitamin D levels appear to be “an independent risk factor for COVID‐19 infection and hospitalization.”
The Bottom Line
Science obviously still has a lot to figure out about COVID-19 and these three studies, while important and very promising, will not offer the final word. Nobody should be downing vitamin D supplements without talking to their doctor.
But we do know for sure that it’s important, for many reasons, to maintain adequate vitamin D levels. So grab a book and head for the patio. Take the dog for a walk. Move your Friday happy hour outside. And be sure to allow yourself 10 or 15 minutes of sun exposure a day without wearing sunscreen, ideally between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
At The Blake, it’s our goal to help you make the most of every day, whether it’s sunny out or not. Our beautifully landscaped grounds are perfect for taking a stroll, chatting with a friend or soaking up some Vitamin D. Chef-prepared meals and personalized wellness programs make life even better at The Blake. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today!