Many studies tell us that vitamin D is beneficial for the immune system, especially regarding protection against infections. Even as the pandemic raged, researchers found that people with enough vitamin D had less risk of getting COVID, had fewer long-term symptoms, and had a lower risk of dying.
Studies with people who did have COVID found 80% were vitamin D deficient.
Populations Susceptible to Low Levels of Vitamin D
It is important to note that Black, Hispanic, and other non-White ethnic groups have a high risk of vitamin D deficiency and have been hit particularly hard by the Corona virus pandemic.
The reasons relating the role of vitamin D to higher rates are complex. People with darker skin have more melanin which can block the UVB radiation from the sun that is necessary to synthesize vitamin D. Other reasons can include a higher incidence of kidney disease and obesity.
Vitamin D Deficiency and Higher Risk of All Diseases
COVID isn’t the only disease linked to vitamin D deficiency. If you don’t have enough vitamin D, you are also at higher risk for heart disease, dementia, cancer, diabetes, and asthma in children.
Having enough vitamin D is so important that researchers have concluded that low levels of vitamin D are one of several significant factors (including community living conditions, employment, and health insurance access) that have caused major health disparities among Black and Hispanic populations.
They found links between vitamin D deficiencies and a high prevalence of other health issues, including poor pregnancy and birth outcomes, cancer, diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer's disease and dementia, multiple sclerosis, acute respiratory tract infections, asthma, and death from all causes.
A Daily Dose of Vitamin D Could Be the Answer
Since low levels of vitamin D increases risk of COVID infection and poor outcomes and is linked to so many diseases that affect well-being and longevity, a daily dose of vitamin D may be an easy step to reduce disease risk. Numerous studies have indicated that vitamin D helps to boost our immune system, making us less prone to illness with better outcomes if we do get ill.
If you are unsure about your vitamin D levels, check with your doctor. About 50% of people worldwide are vitamin D deficient. Oily seafood like salmon and tuna, mushrooms, and fortified foods like cereal and oatmeal can help support vitamin D levels.
You can also supplement with a daily dose of vitamin D. If you are younger than 65 and don’t have year-round exposure to the sun, consider taking 600 to 800 international units of vitamin D3 daily to prevent deficiency. If you are older than 65, about 800 to 1000 international units of vitamin D3 daily can prevent deficiency and reduce the risk of fractures and falls. Because capsules have a 20% absorption rate (the average person only absorbs up to 20% of the dose provided in a capsule), many health professionals recommend daily between 2,000iu and 5,000iu’s to compensate.
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