Vitamin D in the Time of Covid
The evidence linking low nutrient status with more severe outcomes from exposure to COVID 19 is substantial. Each week more studies are published in peer reviewed medical journals. I’m going to breakdown why nutrient status, particularly vitamin D, plays an important role in the fight against COVID 19. We know many people have suboptimal 25(OH)D levels. The populations hit hardest by the pandemic have the lowest levels.
Supports Barrier Function
Vitamin D regulates proteins for the tight junctions of the gut barrier. It has immune modulatory properties and stimulates the production of antimicrobial peptides. It improves the diversity of the gut microbiome. We know that gut barrier function is crucial to immune function and reduces the risk of autoimmunity.
This nutrient prevents cytokine storms and supports the T-helper cell response. It downregulates the Ace 2 receptor and has several anti-inflammatory effects. These include TNF alpha and cross reactive protein. It protects the blood vessels especially the vascular endothelium which is relevant in this pandemic.
Protects Against Respiratory Tract Infections
In a meta analysis of >6000 patients, supplementing D reduces the risk of respiratory tract infection by 36%. These were all randomized control trials which are the highest level science across a broad section of the population.
Vitamin D & Vaccines
One animal study showed that low vitamin D status reduces the effectiveness of vaccines. This is yet another reason to check your levels and ensure they are optimal.
D is measured in the blood using its precursor 25(OH)D. The Vitamin D council suggests a range of 140-275 nmol/L with a target of 175. Conventional lab ranges are 74-200 while the Institute of Medicine recommends 70-175. After looking closely at all the evidence my mentor recommends 120 – 210.
Other Necessary Nutrients
Adequate magnesium, potassium, vitamin K2 and retinol actually protect against toxicity. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin and therefore works synergistically with K2 and Vitamin A. This winter I supplemented with just cod liver oil and wasn’t as consistent as I could have been. My level this month was 86 nmol/L so I will continue with the cod liver oil for D and A while adding some liquid D with K2.
K2 is available in grass-fed dairy. Vitamin A in the most bioavailable form of retinol is found in liver. Of course Vitamin D from UV sunlight is an excellent source that is more available to us in the coming months.
Vitamin D is easy and affordable to take. Testing for D needs to be readily available and offered as part of a standard work-up. Health insurance and our medical system ought to pay for it. At this time it is not but you can request it.
Injection of vitamin C, B1, D and Zinc are part of the IMASK+ and MATH+ protocols used at hospitals for early intervention and treatment of COVID 19.
There is little to no harm in taking Vitamin D as long as you can check your levels. Get a baseline and monitor 3-6 months after beginning supplementation.