The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has taken the world by storm, causing thousands of deaths across continents, wreaking global economic havoc, and instilling widespread stress.
Referred to as “novel”, the respiratory-centric virus is new to the global medical and scientific communities. At the time of this writing, we know little about preventing the coronavirus except for undertaking precautionary measures such as diligent hand-washing, social distancing, and self-quarantining. The unknown information about this highly contagious illness only exacerbates the fear and stress among our populations.
Vitamin D and Immunity
As an advocate of, and prolific writer about, vitamin D’s health benefits, I cannot help thinking of vitamin D’s anti-viral mechanisms of action on the immune system. With the coronavirus pandemic comes undue stress that can adversely affect immunity. Can an adequate vitamin D blood serum level decrease the risk of contracting coronavirus?
Our immune system needs adequate vitamin D to make antimicrobial proteins —especially active in the respiratory tract—that kill viruses and bacteria. People with inadequate vitamin D levels may be more susceptible to infection, according to Dr. Adit Ginde, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine as well as renowned researcher of vitamin D and immunity.
Simply stated, our immune cells contain receptors that receive and activate vitamin D. The vitamin D receptors (VDR) act as “gate keepers” by signaling what external microbes, such as coronavirus, can enter a cell. The VDR must be replete with vitamin D to effectively regulate the immunity system to attack invaders such as COVID-19. Conversely, inadequate vitamin D in the immune system may open one to infectious diseases such as coronavirus.
Sources of Vitamin D
The most natural source of vitamin D is exposure from the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) light. Some experts believe the prevalence of coronavirus will diminish as the summer approaches in the Northern Hemisphere. However, it is too early to know the effect of change in seasons on the virus.
Most diets do not contain foods brimming with vitamin-D-rich foods such as fatty fish caught in the wild. Although many foods are enriched with vitamin D, one would have to consume unrealistic quantities of seafood, egg yolks, and fortified foods to begin acquiring enough vitamin D to increase levels.
The most practical and effective treatment of vitamin D deficiency is to take daily soft gel capsules or liquid drops containing vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol. While there is no magic level for vitamin D blood serum levels, most laboratories consider 100 ng/mL (250 nmol/L) at the optimal end of the reference range.
The higher your D level, the better your odds of staying healthy in general. Please understand that no research has studied how vitamin D levels might be associated with prevention or treatment of coronavirus.
NOTE: Vitamin D supplements should be taken with vitamin K2 MK-7 to move calcium activated by vitamin D out of the soft tissues into the bones and teeth where calcium belongs. It is also important to note that persons who suffer from liver or kidney disease, sarcoidosis, or hyperparathyroidism should definitely consult a medical practitioner before taking vitamin D supplements. People who take cardiac glycosides (dioxins) or thiazide diuretics should check with their heathcare practitioner prior to supplementing vitamin D.
As someone who has maintained an optimal level of vitamin D over the past decade, I feel confident that I most likely will not develop coronavirus. Only time will tell.
If you are interested in learning more about vitamin D and its nutritional partners, the books Defend Your Life and Defend Your Life II are available in some libraries and via online retailers including Amazon.
The Facebook support group called “Vitamin D Wellness” offers a bounty of information as well as a daily, three-nutrient (vitamin D3, vitamin K2, and magnesium) protocol to increase vitamin D levels.
Disclaimer: The author is neither a medical professional nor scientific researcher. The content of this article is for information only and is in no way intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical counseling.
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