Every other day, scientists and doctors are uncovering new facts about the novel coronavirus. The pandemic has affected everyone in different ways- financially, health-wise and psychologically too. And we are all living in fear! Healthcare professionals and common people alike are doing everything they can to improve immunity in the hopes of reducing the case count of COVID-19 until a vaccine is ready.
In this context, some researchers have found a surprising link between Vitamin D and coronavirus. We have always known that Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients and crucial for our bone and teeth health and can regulate phosphorus levels in the blood.
Read on to understand where Vitamin D features in the fight against COVID-19.
What the researchers found:
A study was conducted by researchers at UChicago Medicine. They looked into the Vitamin D levels of people who had contracted COVID-19. Their blood vitamin level had been measured almost a year before they fell ill with coronavirus. The discovery was shocking! Many of the patients had low Vitamin D levels. In fact, the researchers concluded that having insufficient Vitamin D increases the risk of catching COVID-19 by 2 times.
Vitamin D Deficiency:
Currently, doctors believe that normal Vitamin D levels should be around 30ng/ml and certainly not lower than 25ng/ml. Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in India with most studies suggesting that more than 40% of the population has inadequate Vitamin D. Some studies also report 80-90% prevalence. People in urban regions are more likely to have insufficient Vitamin D levels because we live our lives mostly indoors and hardly get the sun.
The link between Vitamin D deficiency and Coronavirus:
Vitamin D is closely associated with immunity. Vitamin D Receptor helps in the synthesis of immunity cells like B Cells, T Cells and Antigen Presenting Cells. This Vitamin can modulate these cells’ immunological responses.
It is already known that low levels of Vitamin D increase the chances of respiratory tract infections (comorbidity of COVID-19). Even before the invention of tuberculosis medicines, sunlight exposure was the chief therapy that could cure TB. Vitamin D supplements are prescribed by doctors as a treatment of many viral infections.
A weak immunity makes it easier for coronavirus to attach itself with the ACE2 receptors of the body and this makes the virus spread faster.
So according to doctors, sufficient Vitamin d levels are needed to reduce the severity of COVID-19 infection. They admit that more studies have to be conducted to figure out what dosage is needed and if the requirements are the same across the spectrum of the population.
What can you do?
Now that doctors have said Vitamin D deficiency may make it likely to contract COVID-19, you need to increase your Vitamin D levels-
- Get some sunlight, Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin as the sun is the best source of this vitamin.
- Talk to your doctor and start taking Vitamin D supplements.
- If you are a vegetarian, consume mushrooms and non-vegetarians can consume sea fishes and eggs as they are excellent sources of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is widespread and yet it can easily be resolved. Take care of your health and observe the COVID-19 protocol. We will surely come out of this pandemic!