It should go without saying that nothing, short of a tried-and-tested vaccine, will stop you from catching COVID-19. However, research suggests that strengthening the immune system could help to reduce the likelihood of a serious infection. But how does vitamin D play into this? Should we be taking vitamin D to protect against Coronavirus? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D was first identified in 1932 when doctors were searching for a cure for rickets, a disease that was common at the time and is now know to be caused by a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is found in certain foods including oily fish, red meats, and eggs. The body can also create its own vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. This is how most people get their daily dose. In the United States, many types of milk are fortified with vitamin D too, including certain plant milks.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of phosphate, magnesium, and calcium that the body absorbs. For this reason, it is closely associated with the health of bones, teeth, and muscles.
Vitamin D has many other important functions in the body in addition to bone health, though. These include supporting the immune system and regulating inflammatory responses.
However, it’s important to note that many of the reported benefits of vitamin D are actually risks from not getting enough of it. For example, while a vitamin D deficiency may be a risk factor for conditions like diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease, there is no evidence that taking extra vitamins reduces the risk for people with normal vitamin D levels.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
According to the American Journal of Sports Medicine, an estimated 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D. Low vitamin D levels are especially common in places far from the equator that have long, dark winters, as people get much less exposure to sunlight. Severe vitamin D deficiency can result in soft bones that can even start to bend.
However, the vast majority of people with a mild vitamin D deficiency might never know, as the symptoms are all quite vague:
- Getting sick often
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Pain in the back, joints, or muscles
The good news is that a mild vitamin D deficiency is easily detected with a blood test and remedied by getting more exposure to sunlight or taking supplements.
So, Can Vitamin D Lower Your Risk of Getting COVID-19?
When it comes to COVID-19, it’s not a case of “the more vitamin D you take, the less likely you are to get it”. Rather, studies seem to suggest that being deficient in vitamin D could increase your risk both of contracting the virus, and of having a more serious case of it. A 2020 study of nearly 500 people people found that those with a vitamin D deficiency were more likely to test positive for COVID-19 than people with healthy vitamin D levels. A number of other studies have seen high rates of vitamin D deficiency among people who were critically ill with COVID-19.
What this seems to show is that it’s more important to ensure that you’re getting enough vitamin D than to overload on it. It’s thought that this is due to vitamin D’s important role in supporting a healthy immune system.
Some people are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency than others. While we don’t yet have enough evidence to conclusively prove that vitamin D protects against coronavirus, if you fall into any of the following categories, it’s probably worth taking it anway.
You might be at risk of a vitamin D deficiency if you:
- Live in a country far from the equator during winter
- Spend a lot of time indoors/don’t get much exposure to the sun
- Have darker skin (higher levels of melanin stop the body from absorbing as much vitamin D from sunlight).
How to Take Vitamin D
We’ve packed the new and improved formula for our Reboot product with goodness to help encourage recovery and maintain a balanced immune system. The all-natural ingredients include vitamin D, vitamin C, magnesium, full-spectrum hemp extract, and our proprietary Inside-Out Recovery Complex, which now contains more super-adaptogens turmeric, ashwagandha, and berberine.