Vitamin D and COVID-19: How Are They Related?

COVID-19 is still spreading all over the world. There is uncertainty about when things will get back to normal and we’re still adjusting to this new way of life. At this time when the world is busy researching medicine or vaccines for COVID-19, people have learned to take preventive measures to stay away from this virus spread by wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, washing hands, etc. But can all these measures save us from the virus?

There has been a lot of discussion about COVID-19 and immunity. And when it comes to immunity, we only think of vitamin C tablets or supplements. But if you have been paying attention to the headlines lately, you have probably seen that vitamin D has been linked to COVID-19 infections. We decided to dig deeper to understand why everyone is talking about vitamin D suddenly.

Why do we need Vitamin D?

Vitamin D has several important functions. The most vital is absorbing calcium and facilitating normal immune system function. Vitamin D is required for the normal growth and development of bones and teeth as well as to improve resistance against certain diseases.

Regulates Immune System and Fight Diseases – Vitamin D is called the Sunshine Vitamin. It is produced by the body in response to sunlight. Research shows that Vitamin D has a strong effect on the key cells of the immune system. In healthy people, T cells play a crucial role in fighting infections. In people with autoimmune diseases, T cells start to attack the body's tissues. Vitamin D can activate T cells and helps to regulate the mechanism of the immune system, and protects us from autoimmune diseases.

Improves Respiratory Health – The respiratory system helps our body absorb oxygen from the air. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we heard of various symptoms that affect people infected with the virus. One such symptom is difficulty breathing and having your respiratory tract infected. Many studies show vitamin D works as a treatment to prevent the growth of mycobacterial infections such as a cough that produces blood, ulcers, tuberculosis, lung infection, etc., and helps to protect from respiratory illness.

Reduces Depression – Due to COVID-19, mental health has become a societal issue. People have not been able to leave their homes frequently, socialize, go on vacations, and gather with family and friends. All of this has led to a change in sleep patterns, mood, behavior, and overall mental health and well-being. Studies show vitamin D decreases depressive symptoms and plays an important role in regulating mood and protects from depression or any mental disorders and improves the quality of life.

How Can You Get Vitamin D?

Many people are aware that sunshine and sun exposure is the biggest source of Vitamin D. Though we may live in a country with abundant sunshine, often due to our office-focused lifestyle, we are still Vitamin D deficient. Other sources of Vitamin D include fish (such as salmon, sardine, and shrimp), fish oil, egg, red meat, liver, cereals, yogurt, etc. If it is difficult for you to get Vitamin D from food and sunshine, another source of Vitamin D is dietary supplements.

How Much Vitamin D Should You Take?

As per studies, current recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for vitamin D for adults is 600 IU

(international unit) = 15 mcg (micrograms) per day and for those over 70 years is 800 IU

(international unit) = 20 mcg (micrograms) per day.

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