Why and how does Vitamin D prevent / minimise COVID-19?
The importance of Vitamin D to help maintain a resilient immune system has, understandably, been catapulted into the headlines recently. More and more compounding evidence is linking Vitamin D supplementation with a reduction in the potential damage caused by the SARS virus COVID-19.
Did you know that Vitamin D was discovered by a Doctor born in the Northeast?
Vitamin D was discovered by Sir Edward Mellanby, son of a Hartlepool shipyard owner, who proved that rickets was caused by a dietary deficiency, induced by lack of sunlight exposure!
There’s some wicked irony here as only back in March 2019 (pre-COVID), a local Hartlepool paper reported that hundreds of locals were being treated for Vitamin D deficiency – with cases increasing by a staggering 84% in just 3 years!
In my opinion, there’s no questioning the benefits of supplementing your wholefood balanced diet with some additional Vitamin D, especially through the winter months. And, dare I say, it’s likely that COVID-SARS viral strains aren’t going anywhere in a hurry?! So if they are to become a part of our lives, much like the common cold and flu strains, then in addition to eating Vitamin D rich foods, reducing your screen exposure and optimising your sunlight exposure, supplementing with some Vitamin D could be the difference between being laid up ill or fighting fit!
I recently read a great article by Ray Schilling MD, which connects the dots between the physiology of Vitamin D and Covid-19 figures. This is what he had to say…
- People who have vitamin D blood levels of 50–80 ng/mL have an effective immune system. It is something modern medicine tends to overlook except functional medicine and anti-aging medicine.
- When antibiotics were introduced after the 2nd World War we became too dependent on them. But they only work against bacterial infections, not against viruses.
- The immune system and your vitamin D blood level have a very close relationship. Those patients who died from Covid-19 coronavirus were the ones who had a vitamin D blood level of 15 ng/mL or less. Those who survive have vitamin D blood levels of more than 30 ng/mL. If you want an immune system that is tops, a vitamin D blood level of 50 to 80 ng/mL is recommended.
- In a publication of 2006, Dr. John Cannell and co-workers have reviewed why influenza has seasonal outbreaks. They found that the innate immune system was very dependent on vitamin D3. Those who did not get enough sunlight in the northern hemisphere during January, February, March and April have an average 25-hydroxy vitamin D level of only 15 to 17 ng/mL.
5. In contrast, from July to September the same volunteers had vitamin D levels of 24 to 29 ng/mL. The authors stressed that this was the reason why in the late winter/early spring flu seasons come and go every year while in summer they disappear. Vitamin D is essential for the functioning of the innate and adaptive immune system. This is true not only for the flu, but also for Covid-19 coronavirus.
Schilling continues … ‘Now an American research group has confirmed everything that I described above: Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths. Here is what these authors have noticed:
Role of vitamin D3 supplementation in Covid-19 Coronavirus infection – Higher doses of vitamin D3 will mitigate the course of influenza and of Covid-19 coronavirus. The researchers outlined 3 mechanisms of how vitamin D works:
1. Maintaining tight epithelial junctions making it more difficult for the Covid-19 coronavirus to penetrate.
2. “Killing enveloped viruses through induction of cathelicidin and defensins.” These powerful antiviral polypeptides can kill viruses that have invaded the blood stream within 1 to 2 days.
3. “…And reducing production of proinflammatory cytokines by the innate immune system, thereby reducing the risk of a cytokine storm leading to pneumonia.”
It is people who get the viral pneumonia that are at a high risk of death. By bringing the Vitamin D blood level up to the higher range of normal, between 50 and 80 ng/mL, patients that have encountered Covid-19 coronavirus are more likely to survive.
Folks, we are blessed with the freedom of information available online. You won’t need to search far to find more evidence related to the benefits of Vitamin D supplementation for supporting the immune system, particularly in the winter months.
Sadly, for the large majority of us in the UK, we simply don’t get enough sun exposure to facilitate good Vitamin D blood levels.
I urge you all to consider taking some Vitamin D supplements, particularly whilst the sun has got it’s woolly hat on and the Government have cancelled the winter sun holidays!