Vitamin D and COVID-19: Research Review 2021
COVID-19 kills some people and spares others. How do you ensure that you are on the right side of the statistics? There are just too many self-proclaimed medical experts recommending all kinds of supplements for COVID-19 out there. On one side are experts telling you that supplements don't work and you should avoid them and just rely on wholesome foods. On the other, are experts telling you to take all kinds of supplements that will help protect you against COVID-19. Do they actually work? Some supplements do have evidence and some don't.
This guide is based on various references to scientific literature and hopefully, can help you make sense of the options and to separate the facts from fiction.
|Image credit: ClevelandClinic|
How do you deal with different expert groups dishing out conflicting guides? A common issue is that certain groups have pre-defined narrative that they would like to support. Therefore, only studies that support that pre-defined narrative are picked and cited as references. This is what we call as 'cherry-picking'. Cherry picking will naturally lead to a 'biased' decision. In order to avoid that, scientific information needs to be analysed in a comprehensive, updated and non-biased manner in order to come up with the best 'evidence-based' decision.
Vitamin D and COVID-19Based on several publications and studies, vitamin D seems to be the “most promising” supplement for COVID-19 protection. Many studies have showed the link between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19.
Of those with a vitamin D level below 20 ng/ml (deficiency), 12.5% tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, compared to 8.1% of those who had a vitamin D level between 30 and 34 ng/ml (adequacy) and 5.9% of those who had an optimal vitamin D level of 55 ng/ml or higher.
Another study, published in JAMA (JAMA Netw Open - Sep 2020) found that persons who are likely to have deficient vitamin D levels at the time of COVID-19 testing were at substantially higher risk of testing positive for COVID-19 than were persons who were likely to have sufficient levels.
The same team above, has also published a preprint article: A study at the University of Chicago of over 4,000 patients that found that untreated vitamin D deficiency was associated with an increased risk for COVID-19 infection.
According to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons’ home-based guide to treating COVID-19, vitamin D, C and zinc are necessary.
Some doctors also recommend adding a B complex vitamin. Zinc is critical. It helps block the virus from multiplying. Hydroxychloroquine is the carrier taking zinc INTO the cells to do its job.
To maintain healthy levels, only 400 to 800 IU (15 to 20 mcg) of vitamin D is required daily, but, to boost low levels, higher doses, such as 2,000 IU daily, are used and are generally safe.
- Wear protective face mask. This is to protect not only yourself but others.
- Abundant evidence suggests that eating whole in fruits, vegetables and whole grains—all rich in networks of naturally occurring antioxidants and their helper molecules—provides protection against free radicals.
- Getting Enough Sleep
- Avoid Sugar, red meat and processed foods.
- Don't smoke.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently, using hand sanitizer and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Try to minimize stress.
- Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated.
- Avoid excess alcohol.
- Avoid crowded areas.
- Regular physical activity (outdoor activities may not be allowed in countries with 'lock-down'). Those with active lifestyle has lower risk if hospitalised as compared to those with sedentary lifestyle (Infectious Diseases and Therapy, 2021)
- Consult your nearest local healthcare provider if you have any doubt.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of third party sites. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.