ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The race to find a universal cure for COVID is heating up. Now Vitamin D is making headlines as a possible factor to prevent and treat COVID-19.
Vitamin D is vital in allowing your body to absorb calcium to strengthen bones.
“Vitamin D is certainly a good thing if a physician recommends it,” said Jeffrey Drebin, MD, PhD Chair, of the Department of Surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
But how does it work when it comes to COVID? In a German trial of nearly 10,000 people, researchers found deaths from respiratory illness were three times higher for those with a Vitamin D deficiency. While at Northwestern University, researchers analyzed data from ten countries and found patients with severe Vitamin D deficiencies were twice as likely to suffer complications from COVID. But experts are cautioning that more research needs to be done and not to overdo it with Vitamin D.
“It can have side effects,” continued Dr. Drebin.
Too much Vitamin D can be toxic and lead to heart and kidney problems. According to the National Institutes of Health, daily intake of 25 to 100 micrograms, or 1000 to 4000 UI, is safe for most people.
Two population groups most commonly affected by Vitamin D deficiencies are African Americans and the elderly, the two groups also most impacted by COVID-19.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
VITAMIN D FOR COVID?
BACKGROUND: Vitamins are substances that your body needs to grow and develop normally. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, which is one of the main building blocks of bone. An insufficient amount of vitamin D can lead to bone diseases such as osteoporosis or rickets. Vitamin D also plays a role in the nerve, muscle, and immune systems. There are three ways to get vitamin D: through your skin, from your diet, and from supplements. Your body forms vitamin D naturally after exposure to sunlight. However, too much sun exposure can lead to skin aging and skin cancer. So many people try to get their vitamin D from other sources like vitamin D-rich foods that include egg yolks, saltwater fish, and liver. Some other foods, like milk and cereal, often have added vitamin D. You can also take vitamin D supplements.
COVID MYTHS: Most likely, you’ve heard about a food, drug or other method that claims to prevent, treat, or cure coronavirus. While it might be tempting to use a questionable product or method to stay healthy, it’s extremely unlikely to work and might cause serious harm. Vaccines against pneumonia don’t provide protection against the COVID-19 virus, and the flu shot also won’t protect you against the virus. There is no evidence that rinsing your nose with saline protects against infection with the COVID-19 virus. Exposure to the sun or to temperatures higher than 77 F doesn’t prevent the COVID-19 virus or cure it. Antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses. Spraying alcohol or chlorine on your body won’t kill viruses that have entered your body, and these substances also can harm your eyes, mouth and clothes. There’s no evidence that eating garlic protects against the COVID-19 virus. Avoiding exposure to or use of 5G networks doesn’t prevent infection with the COVID-19 virus. Finally, many people take vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, green tea or echinacea to boost their immune systems. While these supplements might affect your immune function, research hasn’t shown that they can prevent you from getting sick.
WHAT DOCTORS KNOW: Scientists still don’t have a definitive answer on whether certain vitamins and minerals can help stave off an infection, like coronavirus. “And that’s because it’s such a new phenomenon,” says Walter Willett, MD, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Previous research has shown that lower-than-recommended levels of certain vitamins and minerals can impair immunity to respiratory viruses and other pathogens. A few recent studies suggest an even more direct connection between certain vitamins and minerals and COVID-19. One report published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation found an association between vitamin D deficiencies and higher mortality risks from COVID-19 among patients in Italy. “The bottom line here is that I don’t think anybody should be walking around with low levels or low intakes of important and essential micronutrients and minerals and vitamins at any time, but especially if they’re potentially going to be infected with coronavirus,” Willett says. “It’s just basically practicing good preventive nutrition to begin with.”
* For More Information, Contact:
Jeanne D’Agostino, Sr Director, Media and Public Relations
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
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