Could vitamin D lower your risk of catching a virus?

Could vitamin D lower your risk of catching a virus

Why talk about vitamin D? Well this pandemic’s brought the world to a standstill. Scientists, however, are working around the clock to find a vaccine for COVID-19. Until then, all we can do is make preventative measures a way of life and do whatever we can to help our immune systems function to the best of its ability.

As far as supplements go, when the virus first broke out, many were quick to stock up on vitamin C and zinc. This makes sense as both have merit. Taking at least 200 mg of vitamin C a day has been proven to shave a day off the duration of a cold. To be clear, you’d have to be supplementing before you got sick, not just the days you were under the weather. Zinc could also give you the same benefit, but at short notice. Studies have shown that popping zinc at the first hint of a sniffle could help you shake a cold a day sooner than you would otherwise. Either way, it might be easy to cover all your bases by taking a top-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement that includes both flu-busters all year round.

But what about vitamin D?

Vitamin C and zinc have always gotten all the glory as being flu-fighters. But what’s all this new noise about vitamin D? It’s always been known as the “sunshine vitamin” as your body generates it after about 20 minutes of sun exposure a day. A good thing, as it’s essential for the absorption of calcium to ensure healthy bones and teeth. But does it also have special merit during a pandemic? According to new studies, it’s proving promising.

Researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois analysed reams of data gleaned from hospitals around the globe. They found that COVID-19 patients from countries with high mortality rates had much lower levels of vitamin D in comparison to countries that weren’t as affected. According to the scientists, this made sense. After all, healthy vitamin D levels can enhance our immune system as well as regulate it. The latter is important because an overactive immune system can cause a cytokine storm. This is a hyperinflammatory condition where the body starts attacking its own cells.

“Cytokine storm can severely damage lungs and lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in patients,” says Ali Daneshkhah, one of the professors who wrote the study’s paper. “This is what seems to kill a majority of COVID-19 patients, not the destruction of the lungs by the virus itself. It is the complications from the misdirected fire from the immune system.”

Reap the benefits  

The scientists were quick to make it clear that vitamin D isn’t a cure. But they felt like it was important that people know there’s a definite link. More research needs to be done. In the meantime, taking a vitamin D supplement can only benefit you. Healthy bones and immune system aside, vitamin D may also regulate your mood. One study has shown that when those suffering from depression started taking vitamin D supplements they experienced an improvement in their symptoms. Another study revealed that fibromyalgia patients suffering from depression and anxiety were most likely to be deficient in vitamin D. Also, yet more research has suggested that vitamin D plays a role in reducing the risk of heart disease and multiple sclerosis.

So, how much is enough? The Mayo Clinic recommends 600 to 800 IU per day. It’s tricky to hit this target through food alone. (A single large egg contains only 43,5 IU of vitamin D.) Happily, you can also take a supplement, something like Lamelle Ovelle D3. It contains 500 IU of vitamin D as well as a potent antioxidant called Pycnogenol. Together, they can increase your skin’s natural resistance to damaging UV rays and lighten the look of pigmentation. Talk about a power couple!

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