As many as 1 billion people worldwide suffer from low levels of vitamin D, making it the most common vitamin deficiency. Yet several studies show a clear correlation between having a vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19. Having enough vitamin D may reduce your likelihood of contracting COVID-19 and the severity of your symptoms. It is not a cure, but it might be a key component in protecting you against the worst of the virus.

Vitamin D has many beneficial effects for our bodies. It is most commonly known for promoting bone health by helping us better absorb calcium, but it also plays an important role in supporting your immune system, your first line of defense against any infection.

Experts have long said that a strong immune system is a vital weapon against this virus. Those with stronger immune systems tend to experience mild to low symptoms. They are also less likely to experience cytokine storms, a phenomenon linked to some of the most serious COVID-19 cases.

As we wait for the vaccine to roll out, vitamin D could be a worthy addition to your wellness routine.

Does Vitamin D Protect Against COVID-19?

There is not enough evidence to show that vitamin D can prevent or treat COVID-19. However, studies have shown that it may be influential in determining the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, including whether your diagnosis leads to hospitalization or even ICU admission.

Low vitamin D levels have been linked to upper respiratory tract infections, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome. These are systems that the virus is known to attack. When used as part of a treatment program, the effects of vitamin D have also been positive. Even patients with COVID-19 who have been vitamin D deficient when they enter the hospital have responded well to vitamin D treatment.

Dr. Fauci mentioned in an interview with actress Jennifer Garner that a vitamin D deficiency can impact a person’s susceptibility to infection. Although he wasn’t speaking directly about COVID-19, he happily promoted the usefulness of vitamin D and admitted to taking vitamin D supplements himself.

Are vitamin D supplements needed if individuals are not exposed to sunlight due to COVID-19 lockdowns?

The main way our bodies synthesize vitamin D3 is through sunlight. This means that those of us in overcast climates may struggle to create all the vitamin D we need. Additionally, COVID-19 lockdowns have caused many of us to spend more time indoors. This is especially true for elderly patients and those considered higher risk.

However, there are plenty of natural ways to get vitamin D when the sky is overcast or you’re stuck indoors because of another lockdown.

A well-balanced diet plays a key role in getting all the necessary vitamins and nutrients our bodies need. Oily fish, eggs, some meats and some fortified cereals are good sources of vitamin D.

Taking between 2,000 IU to 5,000 IU of vitamin D every day could also support your immune system and leave you with less severe symptoms should you contract COVID-19. Please consult your physicians for their dosage recommendations.

Can I take any vitamins or supplements to prevent COVID-19?

There is no evidence that any vitamins or supplements can prevent you from contracting COVID-19. However, studies have shown that certain supplements can help boost your immune system and reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.  A meta-analysis on vitamin D and COVID-19 has shown that vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin B12 could be key in fighting COVID-19.

Patients with higher levels of vitamin D have lower morbidity and mortality rates. Low vitamin D levels have also been linked to patients with a high risk of contracting and being hospitalized for COVID-19. However, always remember to consult your medical practitioner should you start exhibiting any symptoms.

Is vitamin D important for the immune system?

Vitamin D is a popular supplement for healthy bones, but studies now show that vitamin D is associated with decreased autoimmunity and decreased susceptibility to infections. Your immune system is your body’s key defense in fighting infection. A stronger immune system may lead to a reduced risk of contracting COVID-19 even if you are exposed to the virus.

It is important not to overdo it on vitamin D supplements as taking too much can be detrimental to your health. If you decide to incorporate vitamin D supplements into your wellness routine, please remember to consult your physician to discuss dosage recommendations.

If you would like to add a vitamin D supplement to your routine, Pharmaca’s vitamin D supplements page includes the available types, forms and dosages from all the top supplementation brands.