Sunday, May 17, 2020

Can Vitamin D help you fight off COVID-19?

What does vitamin D have to do with COVID-19?  New research at Northwestern University indicates people who are deficient in vitamin D are “twice as likely to experience major complications”.  The researchers looked at data from 10 countries, including the USA, and found that people low on D had overactive immune systems.  Well, one would think having an overactive immune system would be a good thing, not so, especially when it comes to COVID-19.  Adequate levels of Vitamin D are protective as Vitamin D enhances our immune system and prevents the overactive immune problems.  The WST-TV 2 in Atlanta reports from Dr. Arielle Levitan, “We do believe that there is a link between vitamin D and immunity and it’s very possible that being vitamin D deficient could set you up for a worse infection.”   According to the article, not only does vitamin D boost your immune system but it also helps you fight inflammation and supports the function of your lungs.  All great benefits when it comes to COVID-19. 

Choose calcium-fortified OJ to get vitamin D and choose a carton. 

How much vitamin D do you need?

The recommended amount of vitamin D is 600 IU for ages 1 to 70 years old.  Those over 70 should aim for 800 IU a day. 

What foods provide vitamin D?

There is little vitamin D in most foods.  However, real cow’s milk is fortified with vitamin D and one can get 100-120 IU per cup of milk.  (Buy milk in the carton, not a plastic container to avoid all the plastic now in our diets.)  Eggs are another good source of vitamin D as each egg provides about 240 IU of vitamin D.  The easiest way to get vitamin D is from drinking real milk at meals or eating some real yogurt that is fortified with vitamin D.  Not all yogurt is fortified with D so you need to read the label and be sure vitamin D was added.  You can also get vitamin D from salmon, trout, sardines and some ready to eat cereals are fortified with vitamin D.  Orange juice has no vitamin D but if you buy calcium-fortified orange juice, it usually is also fortified with vitamin D.  For a list of vitamin D food sources go to the NIH fact sheet on vitamin D.

Choose real milk in a carton and not a plastic container.

How much sun exposure is needed to get enough vitamin D?

According to Harvard, one needs only 10-15 minutes of sun on your arms and legs just a few times a week for your body to generate all the D it needs.  Good that the weather is getting warmer as this makes it easier to get outside and get some “D”.

Are you low in D?

Many Americans are not getting enough vitamin D in their diets and many are not going outside enough to let their bodies make enough vitamin D.  NIH has found that guys get about 204-288 IU per day from food.  Not good, since one needs 600 IU of vitamin D a day.  But women are worse.  Women get only about 144-276 IU of vitamin D a day from food and they also need 600 IU a day. 

So, add some real milk or yogurt to your day and enjoy some time outside to increase your vitamin D levels and boost your immune system.

Sources:  research, reports, foods, sheet, Harvard , NIH   Images:  Milk  , juice , Vitamin D

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