COVID-19 and Vitamin D
Evidence suggests possible positive effects
By Sherry Verostko-Slazak ANP-BC and Marlene Rogers FNP-BC
It is well known that Vitamin D plays an important role in developing and maintaining healthy bones and teeth. However, Vitamin D is also important in supporting our immune system, which has become increasingly important as doctors and researchers look for ways to help to fight off our vulnerability to COVID-19 and other viruses that make us sick.
According to Medical News Today, research conducted involving 11,000 participants in clinical trials in the United Kingdom revealed that Vitamin D supplementation was not only safe, but that it also protected against acute respiratory tract infections. This has led many physicians tending to elderly patients in nursing homes to use vitamin D supplementation to help prevent them from getting COVID-19.
Vitamin D supplementation is also recommended for people of color, who researchers know are more likely to die from COVID-19 than are white people. Doctors also know that people with darker skin tones living in the northern hemisphere, including in Western New York, don’t absorb enough sunlight to manufacture sufficient amounts of vitamin D that their bodies need. In fact, a recent American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study found that 17.5% of Black study participants in the US were at risk of vitamin D deficiency, which is nearly 8.5 times greater than the percentage of their white counterparts.
There are no conclusive evidence-based studies yet to confirm that vitamin D supplements prevent or treat COVID-19. However, a University of Chicago study this year revealed that about half of patients who tested positive for the virus that were taking vitamin D did not require hospitalization as compared to those who were not taking vitamin D. Despite the encouraging result, researchers believe that more randomized clinical trials will need to be conducted.
The good news is that there is a growing body of evidence that suggests that there may very well be a positive effect of vitamin D against COVID-19. This, combined with the fact that vitamin D is certainly not harmful and could be very helpful in boosting our immunity, is encouraging.
As always, it is important to consult with your primary care provider before taking any vitamin supplements. He or she will likely order bloodwork to ascertain your current levels and any prescription medications you are currently taking.
Sherry Verostko-Slazak ANP-BC and Marlene Rogers FNP-BC are primary care providers, co-owners and founders of Advanced Integrative Care, a practice focused on both holistic and traditional medicine applying the most appropriate and effective interventions for healing the whole person. Sherry is also a medical marijuana certification and certified opioid treatment provider. Advanced Integrative Care is conveniently located at 8207 Main Street in Williamsville. Learn more at www.nyholisticcare.com or call 716-277-0267 to make an appointment.