Vitamin D Covid Interactions & Respiratory Infections

Vitamin D Covid-19 interactions has been revealed in many studies. It is also known that When it comes to immune defense and fighting respiratory infections, vitamin D is crucial. Vitamin D is a fatsoluble vitamin that is essential for immune function, bone, muscular, and mental health.

Winter has arrived. We’re in the midst of the cold and flu season, and the Covid-19 pandemic is still going strong, with the Omicron version on the rise. It is more crucial than ever to safeguard your immune system.

Despite the fact that vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins, the majority of the population is low in it. It’s more important than ever to raise awareness about the importance of vitamin D and to improve your body’s vitamin D levels.

You will discover what vitamin D is in this post. You’ll be able to see how vitamin D affects your immune system. I’ll discuss the link between low vitamin D levels and viral illnesses.

I’ll discuss vitamin D and COVID-19 research, as well as vitamin D with the flu. You’ll discover why vitamin D supplementation is so important and how to do it correctly. I’ll discuss why I think you should test your vitamin D levels and what the best ranges are.

What Is Vitamin D?

Your body need vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, to survive and grow. Immune function, bone and muscular health, cognitive function, and mental wellness are just a few of the benefits.

When the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays hit your skin, they cause your body to produce vitamin D. This is the most effective and perfect method for meeting your vitamin D requirements. Vitamin D is also found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, as well as egg yolks, beef liver, and mushrooms. Vitamin D levels may be improved by eating these foods.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D

Meeting your vitamin D requirements just through diet and sunlight can be challenging, if not impossible. As a result of our primarily indoor lifestyles in the modern world, we don’t get nearly enough sunlight.

If you live in the Northern United States, Canada, or other places of the world where the weather is dreary, rainy, or snowy for the majority of the year, achieving your vitamin D needs from the sun becomes much more challenging. As a result, most people require vitamin D supplementation to achieve adequate vitamin D levels and maintain their health.

How Does Vitamin D Work?

When your vitamin D comes from sunshine or food, it will undergo two hydroxylations to get activated and become useful for your body. The first hydroxylation happens inside your liver where vitamin D converts into 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), or calcidiol.

After this, it will go through the second hydroxylation in your kidneys. There it can convert into 1,25-dihydroxy vitamin D (1,25(OH)2D), or calcitriol, which is a physiologically active form of vitamin D your body needs that interacts with the VDR receptor on the cells of the body.

This active form of vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption, optimal serum calcium levels, and optimal phosphate concentration. It supports bone growth, bone mineralization, and bone strength. Vitamin D may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, osteomalacia, muscle spasms, and muscle cramps. It may also support your neuromuscular function, cellular growth, immune health, and cellular metabolism. 

Vitamin D and Immune Function

Vitamin D is required for both the innate and adaptive immune responses. Its active form is necessary for your body’s immunological homeostasis to be maintained. Vitamin D is an immunomodulator that targets

T-lymphocytes, B-lymphocytes, and diverse immune cells such as monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells, according to a 2010 study published in Current Opinion in Pharmacology. Vitamin D deficiency raises the risk of persistent infections and autoimmune illnesses, according to the study.

A 2011 book, Vitamins, and Hormones published by the Academic Press has found that the active metabolite of vitamin D, 1,25(OH)2D is an active player when it comes to immune function, immune regulation, and the health of your innate and adaptive immune system. Vitamin D deficiency thus may increase the risk and symptoms of immune dysfunction.

Vitamin D and Immune Function
Vitamin D and Immune Function

Low vitamin D levels may not only increase the risk of autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis (MS), but also increases the risks and outcomes of infectious diseases. 

Vitamin D insufficiency, according to the writers of the book Vitamins and Hormones, may raise the risk of TB. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of respiratory infections.

Vitamin D levels, for example, may lessen the incidence of viral influenza infections (the flu), according to a 2018 analysis published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (4). You’ll discover more about how vitamin D may help with viral illnesses like the flu and COVID-19 later in this article.

Vitamin D receptors are found on immune cells such as T cells, B cells, and antigen-presenting cells, according to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine.

According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Investigative Medicine, vitamin D receptors are expressed on your immune cells, including your T cells, B cells, and antigen-presenting cells . Because of this, vitamin D can influence your innate and adaptive immune response and lower your risk of infections and autoimmune problems. 

Vitamin D and Immune Function
Vitamin D and Immune Function

A 2020 study published in JBMR Plus has also found that vitamin D may play an essential role in your immune health. According to the researchers, 1,25(OH)2D may increase autophagy in your body. This may support your body in fighting respiratory infections. It can mediate T cell responses, lower inflammation, and even offer antiviral and antibacterial benefits. It turns out that supplementing with vitamin D may support these processes and help to improve your immune health.

Vitamin D and Viral Infections 

When it comes to viral infections, vitamin D is essential. It may aid in the modulation of your immune system in order to prevent viral infections, lower your risks, and aid recovery. Vitamin D supplementation may assist to prevent acute respiratory infections, according to a 2019 metaanalysis published in Health Technology Assessment, which looked at individual participant data from 10,933 people.

 Vitamin D may potentially have immune-modulatory effects on viral infections, according to a review published in Nutrients in 2020. 

Schematic illustration vitamin D synthesis pathway and signalling... |  Download Scientific Diagram

Vitamin D insufficiency is frequent among persons who have viral illnesses such influenza, COVID-19, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS, according to researchers. Vitamin D regulates the innate and adaptive immune systems, has antiviral characteristics, and may minimize the risk of infection, according to the researchers.

Researchers found that vitamin D deficiency is common among people with viral infections, including influenza, COVID-19, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS. They found that vitamin D helps to regulate the innate and the adaptive immune system, offer anti-viral properties, and may reduce the risk of infections. 

A 2021 article published in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition has also found that vitamin D plays a role in immune protection. It may help to reduce inflammation, decrease the risk of tissue damage, and may offer an anti-viral immune response. Researchers suggested that vitamin D may be beneficial for those with COVID-19 as deficiencies in vitamin D have been linked to increased risk of severe disease and mortality.

Studies on Vitamin D and COVID-19

You’ve definitely read blogs and social media articles on vitamin D and COVID-19’s possible health advantages. There’s a compelling explanation for this. There is a lot of evidence that vitamin D is vital for maintaining your body throughout the COVID-19 epidemic.

Vitamin D insufficiency may be connected to an increased risk of COVID-19 infection, according to a 2021 comprehensive review and meta-analysis published in Frontiers in Public Health, whereas appropriate levels lowered the risk. Researchers discovered that persons with vitamin D deficiency were 80 percent more likely to become infected with COVID-19. They looked at 318 studies on vitamin D and COVID-19 and selected 14 that fulfilled the inclusion criteria.

The association between vitamin D insufficiency, COVId-19 infections, associated hospitalization, and death was examined in a systematic study published in Frontiers in Public Health in 2021, which looked at 49 written and 5 pre-print papers and a total of 1,403,715 cases. The study discovered that patients with low vitamin D levels had a higher risk of ARDS and COVID-19 death.

To further understand the link between vitamin D and COVID-19, a meta-analysis of observational studies published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2021 looked at 3637 people. In COVID-19, they discovered that vitamin D insufficiency increased the risk of major illness and death, similar to previous findings.

Studies on Vitamin D and Flu

The flu has clearly been around for longer than COVID-19. Every year, we deal with the flu season, so it’s important that you protect your immune system year-round to support your body through this period. The effects of vitamin D on the flu virus has been studied for decades, the following studies are just a few examples.

Vitamin D may lower the incidence of season influenza A in newborns, according to a multicenter, randomized, open, controlled clinical study published in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal in 2018. During the trial, 400 newborns were divided into two groups: low-dose vitamin D and high-dose vitamin D.

There were 78 instances in the low-dose vitamin D group and 43 cases in the high-dose vitamin D group out of a total of 121 cases. The infants in the high-dose group also recovered faster than those in the low-dose group.

The findings imply that taking a larger dosage of vitamin D (1,200 IU in this example) throughout childhood may assist to lower the incidence of flu and enhance recovery.

A 2020 review published in Nutrients has found that vitamin D may reduce the risk of respiratory infection, serious illness, and death in both influenza (the flu) and COVID-19. According to the review, vitamin D may decrease the concentration of inflammatory cytokines and as a result may lower the risk of lung infections, pneumonia, and ARDS.

Researchers found that vitamin D deficiencies in common in chronic diseases and health issues that increase the risk of complications for the flu and COVID-19. The authors of the review recommend 10,000 IU/dL of vitamin D during the initial phase of the infection followed by 5,000 IU/dL after a few weeks with a goal to achieve 40 – 60 ng/mL 25(OH)D. 

Sunlight, which raises vitamin D synthesis and levels, may lessen the risk of the flu, according to a report published in the Economics and Human Biology journal in 2021. During the 2009 H1N1 outbreak, researchers discovered that the link between sunshine and influenza respiratory illnesses was one of the key driving factors.

They discovered that a 10% increase in relative sunshine lowered the influenza index by 1.1 points on a scale of ten. The number of flu cases in various counties across New York State matched these findings. This shows that, in addition to vitamin D treatment, merely spending time in the sun can help to lower risk.

Using Vitamin D Supplementation

Looking at the research evidence, you are probably not surprised when I say that using vitamin D supplementation for COVID-19 may be a great support strategy. Let’s look at some research evidence before I get into how to use vitamin D supplementation.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D

Vitamin D supplementation may assist to minimize the length of hospital stay and the risk of mortality in COVID-19, according to a research published in the journal Nutrients in 2021.

Researchers conducted a prospective study with 23 healthy people and 210 patients after examining the previous data of 867 COVID-19 cases. Vitamin D supplementation was given to 163 people. The findings indicate that vitamin D treatment helped patients elevate their vitamin D levels above 30 ng/mL in just two weeks.

Some patients had existing comorbidities or health issues that may increase their risk of serious illness, hospitalization, and mortality.

Researchers found that patients without comorbidities that didn’t receive vitamin D treatment had a 1.9-fold increased risk of needing to be hospitalized for longer than 8 days compared to patients who had comorbidities but received vitamin D treatment who were more likely to need less than 8 days of hospitalization.

This suggests that adequate vitamin D levels and vitamin D supplementation may be important for those who don’t have any existing health risk factors. Researchers also found that vitamin D supplementation had lowered the mortality rate by 2.14 times in the cases they observed.

Respiratory Infections

A population-cohort study published in 2022 in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation has also found that vitamin D supplementation may improve COVID-19 outcomes. The study looked at COVID-19 cases of individuals who supplemented with vitamin D between April 2019 and February 2020 and compared them to a control group who did not. Researchers looked at the difference between how they faired during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020. 

Cold, flu? Should you be taking vitamins or is it a myth?
Vitamin D

They found that patients who supplemented with cholecalciferol had a reduced risk of COVID-19 infection. Those who achieved at least 30 ng/mL 25OHD levels through cholecalciferol supplementation experienced a reduced risk of infection, severe disease, hospitalization, and mortality compared to the control group.

Although calcifediol supplementation did not diminish the risk of COVID-19, individuals who obtained at least 30 ng/mL 25OHD levels by calcifediol supplementation had a lower risk of infection, severe illness, hospitalization, and mortality from COVID-19, according to the researchers.

Researchers discovered that possessing at least 30 ng/mL 25OHD may be the key to reducing the incidence of COVID-19 infections and the accompanying severe illness, hospitalization, and fatality.

Testing Your Health Indicators

I recommend testing your vitamin D levels to see if you are dealing with deficiency and immune health risks. Testing can help us determine the best supplementation strategy for you. When it comes to vitamin D levels, most studies use <20 nmol/L for very deficient, <30 nmol/L for deficient and >30 nmol/L for normal vitamin D levels. However, simply being a bit over 30 nmol/L is far from enough. Optimal levels of vitamin D are over 50 nmol/L and this is what we are aiming for in functional medicine. 

 vitamin D covid
vitamin D

When analyzing your vitamin D levels, I also recommend that we look at your 1,25-OH Calcitriol and 25-OH cholecalciferol D3 levels to understand the full picture. Optimal ranges for 1,25 OH Calcitriol is between 50 and 100 ng/ml and for 25-OH vitamin D3 it is also between 50 and 100 ng/ml.

Comprehensive Blood Analysis

A Comprehensive Blood Analysis is something I suggest (CBA). This is a more advanced test than most traditional physicians can prescribe. We can examine your 25(OH) and 1,25(OH) with the aid of this test (OH). Some people suffer from vitamin D resistance, which means they are unable to raise their vitamin D levels despite treatment.

We must examine a wide range of indicators in these patients, including inflammatory markers, parathyroid function, calcium and magnesium levels, liver markers, and more. This is where the CBA is so helpful, because it looks at inflammatory markers, vitamin A, PTH, calcium, magnesium, complete metabolic panel, complete blood count, liver function markers, blood sugar levels, nutrient deficiencies, and more.

I recommend getting the CBA done regularly both as a preventative measure and to monitor your progress.

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for immunological health and combating respiratory infections; nevertheless, the majority of the population is vitamin D deficient. It’s more important than ever to raise awareness about the importance of vitamin D and to improve your body’s vitamin D levels.

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