Can the Sunshine Vitamin Cut back COVID-19 Infections?

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Can the Sunshine Vitamin Reduce COVID-19 Infections?

People who bask in the sun usually do so because it makes them feel good and makes their skin glow. However, this time in the sun can also provide a much-needed vitamin. Vitamin D is a bone strengthener. It prevents diseases like rickets and helps calcium keep bones strong. This reduces the risk of osteoporosis and fragile bones. And now researchers believe vitamin D may also reduce the risk of getting COVID-19.

Two recent studies found that people with subnormal vitamin D levels were more likely to develop COVID-19 than people with recommended levels. The first study, published in May in the Irish Medical Journal, searched the literature for records from elderly patients in Europe to find a link between vitamin D levels and coronavirus infection.

The researchers expected that people in the sunnier countries like Italy and Spain would have higher scores than those in the northern countries like Norway, Finland and Sweden. However, they found that the opposite was true. Citizens of northern countries, where foods are fortified with vitamin D and where dietary supplements are more common, had higher levels of vitamins in their blood. They also had the lowest rates of COVID-19 infection and death. However, the authors also wrote that there are many issues that have not been studied, such as how each country measures vitamin D levels and other possible reasons why their citizens may be more infected than others – including how quickly with which the infection spreads.

Another article published on the JAMA Network Open in August is based on a US study of nearly 500 patients. The researchers looked at patients whose blood levels of vitamin D were measured within a year of being tested for COVID-19. The results showed that patients with vitamin D deficiency were almost twice as likely to develop COVID-19 as those with normal levels.

The US-based researchers found that there are many reasons someone might be deficient in vitamin D, including chronic health problems or lifestyle factors that limit their exposure to the vitamin. These could also have an impact on the infection with the virus. They encouraged further studies to look into the subject.

However, both studies are at odds with what researchers at the University of Glasgow have found. Their study, published in the July / August issue of Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome, looked at nearly 1,500 people in the UK who tested positive for COVID-19 and vitamin D between 2006 and 2010. The researchers did not find any connection about how much vitamin these people had.

So, at this point in time, there is no definitive answer as to whether vitamin D plays a role in COVID-19 infection.

Should you increase your vitamin D exposure or consumption anyway?

Since vitamin D is an essential part of keeping healthy, it's not a bad idea to ask your doctor for a blood test to measure how much vitamin you have in your blood. If you don't have enough, you can adjust your diet or lifestyle accordingly.

Most healthy people can get enough vitamin D from the sun – usually 15 to 20 minutes three times a week. However, how well you absorb the vitamin depends on a few factors, such as:

  • The color of your skin: People with darker skin need more sun exposure to absorb enough vitamin.
  • Your Location: The further north you go, the lower the ultraviolet light that makes your body produce vitamin D.
  • The time of year: The further north you are, the more important it is how much UV light you are exposed to from the sun.
  • The time of day: The sun's rays are strongest around noon between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • The Weather: Cloudy days can reduce the amount of UV rays.
  • Air pollution: This can also prevent adequate exposure to UV rays.

Exposing your skin to the sun can lead to other problems, such as: B. to damage that can lead to skin cancer. So, if you have any concerns about how much sun exposure to get, talk to your doctor.

When you're not getting enough sunshine, you can get vitamin D in certain foods and through supplements. Foods with vitamin D are:

  • Fortified milk and juice products
  • Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel
  • Beef liver
  • cheese
  • egg yolk

If you choose to take supplements, read the labels to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D. These are the recommended amounts per age:

  • Infants up to 6 months: 400 international units and no more than 1,000 IU per day
  • 6 months to 1 year: 400 IU, not more than 1,500 IU
  • 1 year to 3 years: 600 IU, not more than 2,500 IU
  • 4 to 8 years: 600 IU, not more than 3,000 IU
  • 9 to 70 years old, including pregnant or breastfeeding women: 600 IU, not more than 4,000 IU
  • 71 years and older: 800 IU, not more than 4,000 IU

If some are good, a lot isn't necessarily better

Sometimes it is tempting to say, "If some are good, more must be better". But like most things in life, moderation is key. Ingesting too much vitamin D over a long period of time can lead to toxicity. It is rare and does not occur when there is too much sun. Vitamin D toxicity occurs when you take too many supplements. Too much vitamin can lead to a build-up of calcium in your body called hypercalcemia. Symptoms are:

  • nausea
  • Vomit
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • constipation
  • Weakness
  • confusion
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Bone pain
  • Kidney stones

If you want a healthier diet that contains not only a healthy amount of vitamin D but other nutrients as well, a nutritionist is your best bet. Ask your doctor's office if they have a nutritionist on staff or if they can refer you to one. Check with your insurance company to see if your plan will cover the cost of such advice.

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