- Vitamin D is an important vitamin that contributes to the optimum functioning of many body parts
- When the body lacks the vitamin, it also affects the immune system
- This will make you prone to viruses and illnesses, including the coronavirus
Being deficient in vitamin D could lead to the development of bone problems, such as deformities. This is because the main function of this nutrient is to keep phosphorus and calcium in the blood at normal levels. It helps the body absorb the calcium content of food, which is then processed to strengthen and maintain the health of your bones.
There are studies, however, that reveal vitamin D does more than just keep your bones healthy. It also helps your immune system, and lacking this nutrient may heighten your risk of getting infected by the coronavirus.
Coronavirus and Vitamin D Deficiency
The new strain of coronavirus, now called COVID-19 that is believed to have originated from the Wuhan province of China, is causing health and economic problems. Experts say that coronavirus is a respiratory infection disease with symptoms similar to flu or a common cold. You might be wondering how this is relevant to being deficient in vitamin D.
Past and recent observational studies have revealed the relationship between respiratory tract infections like bronchitis or colds and vitamin D deficiency. Aside from keeping your bones healthy and strong, another role of vitamin D is keeping the body’s immune system strong. A strong immune system can fight off illness-causing bacteria and viruses with greater efficacy.
What The Studies Reveal
Studies show that vitamin D interacts directly with cells responsible for fighting infection. Because of this, researchers conclude that being deficient in vitamin D could increase your risk of getting infected by the deadly coronavirus.
Researchers also hypothesized that increasing vitamin D dosage may provide protection against COVID-19. Several studies have shown that taking a daily dosage of up to 4,000 IU of vitamin D supplements lowers your risk of respiratory tract infection.
One study involving patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD were given high doses of vitamin D supplements for one year. After the study, researchers noted that only those who have severe vitamin D deficiency experienced considerable benefits.
Persons at Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is called the sunshine vitamin because it is created when sunlight touches your skin. This means that you need to make sure you get enough sunlight exposure to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D. The Department of Health has also identified those who are at higher risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Aside from not spending enough time outdoors, you may be at higher risk if you are in a care home or other similar institutions. Persons who wear clothing that covers almost the entire body whenever they are outdoors are also at a greater risk.
Scientists reveal that ethnicity also plays a role. For instance, if you have a South Asian, African, or African-Caribbean background, you may not have sufficient amounts of vitamin D from sunlight. If you believe you have any of these risk factors, you might want to take a daily supplement with 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.
The National Health Service warns, however, that taking too much vitamin D supplements over a long period can cause the accumulation of calcium in the body. This can lead to hypercalcemia, a condition that can weaken your bones, as well as damage your heart and kidneys.