Vitamin D Deficiency related to COVID-19 Severity
COVID-19 and Vitamin D Deficiency
Only 13% of COVID-19 patients tested have recommended vitamin D values. This confirms what biohackers have been saying all along about vitamin D deficiency (1). Although this data is preliminary and hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet, all signs are pointing in the same direction. Those with the lowest vitamin D values are correlated with the worst COVID-19 outcomes.
Vitamin D Deficiency, Prevalence
This data is especially alarming because vitamin D deficiency is very common. Most estimates have upwards of 80% of the population as deficient in this important vitamin. Ethnic populations have an even higher prevalence. African American and Hispanic populations fare the worst but all ethnicities with darker skin show lower levels (1).
Our indoor lifestyles, lack of healthy food sources of vitamin D, and deficiencies in other vitamins required for absorption are likely to blame.
Other impacts of Vitamin D Deficiency
Every single cell in the body has a Vitamin D receptor making it one of the most important vitamins in your body. It actually acts more like a hormone than a vitamin in the body. According to the Cleveland Clinic (4), vitamin D deficiency can be related to…
- Heart disease and high blood pressure
- Infections and immune system disorders
- Falls in older people
- Some types of cancer, such as colon, prostate and breast cancers
- Multiple sclerosis
Deficiency Risk factors
Although some ethnicities are more at risk than others, there are 7 other risk factors also. The good news is, risk factors 3-7 are controllable.
- Dark skin
- Age (increases as we age)
- Lack of fish and/or dairy
- Distance from the equator
- Not getting daily sun exposure
- Always using sunscreen to block sun exposure
- Being overweight (learn more about weight loss)
Simple Blood Test
Your doctor can test your vitamin D levels with a simple blood test. Depending on those results, the recommended supplement dosage usually ranges from 600-2000 IU a day (3). Although toxicity is rare, Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and can be stored allowing for toxic levels to occur. For that reason, a baseline test is best performed by your doctor and dosage based on those results.
Also, keep in mind that fat-soluble vitamins require fat to be absorbed. Make sure you take your supplements with a healthy fat for optimal absorption.
Magnesium is required
The crazy part about vitamin D is that without Magnesium is cannot be metabolized. This cruel twist means that you can take high-quality Vitamin D supplements but still be deficient! Before you order vitamin D supplements, read this article about magnesium. You’ll probably need to order both.
Vitamin D can’t be metabolized without sufficient magnesium levels, meaning Vitamin D remains stored and inactive for as many as 50 percent of Americans. In addition, Vitamin D supplements can increase a person’s calcium and phosphate levels even while they remain Vitamin D deficient. People may suffer from vascular calcification if their magnesium levels aren’t high enough to prevent the complicationhttps://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180226122548.htm
Who are the experts?
You also have the benefit of online resources and experts who can guide you on this topic. I’ve listed my favorite experts and resources below.
Personal Story – Sun Exposure
As a population, we’ve spent a long time running from the sun and we’re seeing the consequences of that fear. That said, some of us are at risk for skin cancers, my father is one of those people.
After having several pre-cancerous lesions removed, he has to be very careful in the sun. In his case, he’ll have to focus on getting vitamin D from supplements and food sources. As always, if you’re in a high-risk group or have had skin cancer already, consult with your physician about the safety of sun exposure.
Undoctored is perhaps one of the best books I’ve ever read. I listened to it on Audible and it was so good I actually bought the hardcopy too. It has a reference section in the back I wanted on hand whenever I have questions about a variety of topics. The premise of the book is Dr. William Davis explaining the ‘business’ of health care and cutting through the misinformation around sickness. See pages 272-274 to learn more about vitamin D.
Recommended Instagram Account
Dr. James DiNicolantonio is a respected cardiovascular research scientist and the author of several books, including The Salt Fix — Why Experts got it All Wrong and How Eating More Might Save Your Life. He is very active on IG and explains complex issues in very easy to digest terms.