Vitamins are the key to good health. Without them, our body wouldn’t be able to convert food to energy, develop bones, teeth, muscle, or keep our immune system in proper working order. With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc around the world, everyone is encouraged to stay indoors.
Many reports and discussions in scientific circles are stressing on how taking vitamin supplements, especially Vitamin D, is of utmost importance during these rough times. But why?
Vitamin D and its prevalence
Vitamin D has many roles in the body. It builds healthy bones, boosts immune health, controls your mood and reduces the risk of many diseases. It is a fat-soluble nutrient and isn’t present in many foods. Thus, most people get Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin D regulates the calcium and phosphorous levels of the body. It also regulates the immune response of white blood cells by preventing them from releasing too many inflammatory cytokines. Excess of cytokines can lead to cytokine storm, which is a complication associated with COVID-19. Therefore, it is strongly encouraged that we take Vitamin D to ensure that we are nutritionally in the best possible place.
Who is more at risk of a deficiency?
Many people are already at a mild deficiency of Vitamin D without knowing it. With precautionary measures such as social distancing, everyone is actively staying indoors and only going out when necessary. Because of this, more people are falling deficient in Vitamin D due to lack of sunlight exposure.
Elderly and dark-skinned people might reap the most benefits from vitamin D supplements when it comes to strengthening their immune system.
In dark-skinned people, the presence of melanin, which gives the skin a darker tone, lowers the skin’s ability to make vitamin D on exposure to sunlight. Older individuals are more at risk of developing serious COVID-19 complications.
People suffering from diabetes, pre-diabetes and obesity are also found to have low levels of Vitamin D. Thus, they benefit from the supplementation of the essential vitamin to protect against certain symptoms.
Even if you don’t fall under the risk category, studies recommend that everyone from children to the elderly takes regular Vitamin D supplements for their nutritional benefits. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
How much Vitamin D should you be taking?
Vitamin D supplements are very safe to take for almost everybody.
- Children (1-10yrs) should not have more than 50mcg of Vitamin D a day.
- Infants (>12 months) should not have more than 25mcg per day.
- Adults should not have more than 100mcg a day.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women are recommended 10 mcg a day
Depending on your blood levels, supplementing with 400–2,000 IU of vitamin D per day is typically sufficient for most people.
Your diet is important!
Vitamin D is available in food such as
- Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
- Fortified cereal and milk
It is very hard to obtain the optimum amount of Vitamin D through food alone, which is why supplements are recommended. But eating a well-balanced diet can help ensure the proper functioning of the immune system and nutrition levels of other essential vitamins and minerals.
COVID-19 patients are given Vitamin D supplements too. Hence, maintaining Vitamin D at normal levels will keep your immunity intact. Even if you catch the coronavirus, your condition will not severely deteriorate. The virus will be less severe and can help you recover faster.
With cases increasing exponentially every day, it’s important to stay inside as much as possible and avoid physical contact with people. If you have to go out, sanitize your hands after each contact with an object and to always wear a mask.
Stay home, stay safe!