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This Month In Diet
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    Vitamin D has been in the spotlight lately as a possible way to prevent or even treat COVID-19 after a study found that countries with high mortality rates of COVID-19 also have high levels of vitamin D deficiency. Are these results valid? Read >>
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Health and Fitness News

Vitamin D and Immunity

Could vitamin D help protect you from COVID-19 and other diseases?

Vitamin D has been in the spotlight lately as a possible way to prevent or even treat COVID-19 after a study found that countries with high mortality rates of COVID-19 also have high levels of vitamin D deficiency. Are these results valid?

Keep reading to find out if vitamin D could help protect you from the new coronavirus, what the best sources of vitamin D are, and how much you need on a daily basis.

A Closer Look

As further studies have been done on vitamin D and protection from COVID-19, the link between the two has been called into question. The initial study didn’t measure vitamin D levels in COVID-19 patients but looked at the country’s vitamin D deficiency data.

Another study did find a correlation between patients with a history of vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 risk. The reason for this link, however, may be due to the fact that eldery and African-Americans, who have higher COVID-19 mortality rates, are also more likely to be deficient in vitamin D. Also, many risk factors for the virus are associated with vitamin D deficiency. For these reasons, more research is needed.

With an unclear connection, it’s best to approach vitamin D as a treatment for COVID-19 with caution. Treating a deficiency may benefit someone’s immune system, but too much vitamin D and an overactive immune system may also be harmful. The conclusion? Make sure you’re getting normal amounts of vitamin D to prevent a deficiency and promote good health during this time of increased health risks.

Stay Healthy

Even though vitamin D may not help protect you specifically from COVID-19, it does help keep your immune system functioning in top shape. When your immune response is working properly, your body is better able to fight off all sorts of infection and disease. Low levels of vitamin D, on the other hand, are known to increase your risk of respiratory infections, asthma, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and decreased lung function.

The Best Sources

Vitamin D is nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin” since it’s synthesized by your skin when exposed to direct sunlight. Using sunscreen, spending most of your days indoors, living in a big city where there’s not much direct sunlight due to tall buildings, being exposed to high pollution levels, and having dark skin all hinder your skin’s ability to absorb adequate amounts of vitamin D.

Sunlight is the best way to get vitamin D since there are only a few foods that naturally contain the nutrient. These foods include fatty fish like salmon, tuna, swordfish, and sardines, eggs, beef liver, and shrimp. You can also find cereal, milk, yogurt, and orange juice that are fortified with the vitamin to help ensure you’re getting enough. For good health, eat plenty of these foods and expose your skin to sunlight for 15 to 20 minutes at least three days a week.

How Much Is Needed?

Kids, teenagers, and adults need 600 IU of vitamin D a day. Adults over the age of 70 need 800 IU. Signs of a vitamin D deficiency include frequent illness, depression, hair loss, aches, pains, fatigue, bone pain, muscle pain, or stress fractures. Ask your doctor for a blood test to find out whether or not you’re lacking this important nutrient. Normal levels will be between 20 and 50 nanograms/milliliter. A reading of less than 12 ng/mL is a sign of a vitamin D deficiency. If your levels are low, your doctor may recommend a daily supplement to help restore healthy levels.