Aug 12, 2021
Could vitamin D help fight the Coronavirus pandemic?
Is there any relationship between vitamin D and Covid-19 disease, and if so, is it important enough to motivate you to supplement this vitamin to protect your body against coronavirus? First, it is necessary to understand the broader context of the relationship between these two elements, namely, to look at vitamin D and its properties in greater detail and separate the facts from the myths around Covid-19 disease. In this matter, studies indicate a potential relationship of vitamin D3 with the respiratory system.
Vitamin D – what is it, and what is its source?
Vitamin D is a specific type of vitamin stored in the body for a long time – because it is soluble in fats and oils. It is one of the substances necessary for human health – because of the essential functions in the human body, which we will focus on later in this article.
However, the most significant specificity of this vitamin is the fact that it can be obtained from a wide variety of sources, including:
• Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) from UV irradiation with ergosterol – is a steroid found mainly in fungi and some plants.
• Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) – a substance synthesized by UV radiation 7.
A combination of vitamin D2 and D3 from the above sources has been proven to be available in the wild. Therefore, in addition to the exposure of the body to UV rays, we can supplement it in the body by consuming rich foods, such as egg yolks, fatty fish, margarine, and vitamin supplements (1).
The role of vitamin D in the human body
Vitamin D is a very well-researched substance today, so we can know about the numerous health claims it has. It is actually a hormone (2), and vitamin D3 receptors are present in almost every cell in our body. Above all, it is an invaluable aid to the body when it comes to absorbing and using calcium and phosphorus and maintaining normal blood calcium levels. Vitamin D also helps maintain healthy bones, supports muscles in their proper functioning, and also helps in keeping teeth healthy.
In addition, vitamin D is also known to support the body by taking part in cell division. However, in the context of the article’s subject, the most crucial information related to the health claims of this vitamin is that it helps in the proper functioning of the immune system (3).
Unfortunately – despite all the available sources – from sunlight, through food to supplementation – the medical community is alarming that vitamin D deficiency is still common in all age groups (4). Naturally, the most common reason for this is too little sun exposure. Therefore, it is comforting that society knows more and more about the consequences of vitamin D deficiency. It is more important in the epidemiological situation that has been going on for over a year, which intensifies in the winter months when the vitamins are missing the most.
Covid-19 – the most critical information
Since the outbreak of the epidemic, there has been a lot of fingertip information about the coronavirus disease, which does not make it easier to understand Covid-19, much less the actions each of us can take to protect ourselves from it, and even better – those that can help us reduce the risk of infection in general. Hence, a summary of the most critical facts about Covid-19 can be considered specific and confirmed by virology experts.
Covid-19 is a viral disease whose most common symptoms are:
• shortness of breath,
• loss of smell or taste.
There may also be muscle and headache, diarrhoea, and rash (5). The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is a highly contagious disease, luckily not as much as other viral diseases known to humankind for a long time, such as chickenpox and measles. This disease mainly affects the elderly and the chronically ill to the most dangerous degree, but anyone can become infected – regardless of age, sex or health condition. The important thing is that infection is very easy – it can happen through coughing, sneezing or even talking. Similarly, the infection can occur if you touch the surface of an infected person’s saliva droplets and then touch the area around the nose, eyes, ears and mouth, which can also cause infection (6).
SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and vitamin D.
Since the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus pandemic outbreak, scientists worldwide and searching for an adequate drug are also trying to educate the public about what can be done to protect themselves from infection. Since it is known that this disease is the most severe in people with reduced immune system functioning, it seems logical that support for the body should be sought in the sources of its strengthening, and it is hard to find a better ally than vitamins.
Much of the research has been focused on vitamin D3, which scientists say may be potentially related to the respiratory system’s functioning and the response to the Sars-CoV-2 virus.
Here are some sample studies and their results:
• Research by specialists from Boston University School of Medicine in the pages of “PLOS ONE” (7) – blood results of 235 patients admitted to the hospital due to coronavirus infection, and it turned out that in the case of people who had sufficient vitamin D levels in the blood, much less frequent complications and deaths,
• In the pages of JCEM Oxford Academic, we read about a study confirming that 80% of people hospitalized for Covid had a reduced level of vitamin D3 (8),
• On the vdmeta.com portal, you can find a detailed meta-analysis. In addition, there is access to over d36 various studies that show the relationship of vitamin D3 supplementation with the body’s response to the virus. People with adequate levels usually had mild or asymptomatic disease, in contrast to those with too low levels of this vitamin (9).
There is no need to convince anyone about how vital vitamin D3 is for the human body. Appropriate research has also been conducted in this regard (10) – you can read about it on the Harvard Medical School website. They indicate the need for vitamin D3 supplementation because we do not have adequate levels all year round in every place. According to specialists, the production of vitamin D3 in the body requires sufficient radiation, which, unfortunately (depending on the residence), usually occurs only a few months throughout the year.
On the US National Library of Medicine website (11), you can check where and in which months in Europe the production of vitamin D3 (naturally, thanks to the sun) is highest.