Vitamin D for Covid-19 Resilience

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The importance of being Covid-19 resilient

Currently, there are over 67 million confirmed Covid-19 infections with over 1.5 million Covid-19 deaths worldwide (WHO, accessed 2020/12/09 at 9:16 pm). To make matters worse, it’s now clear that Covid-19 may cause long-term illness for many Covid-19 survivors 1.

For these reasons, we have outlined how you can make yourself Covid-19 resilient. In this article, we argue that vitamin D supplementation should become an integral part of your Covid-19 resiliency plan.

Vitamin D and Covid-19: the story so far.

To date, there is a growing correlation between low levels of vitamin D and the severity of Covid-19 disease. A recent analysis of 26 studies, which included data from 8,176 Covid-19 patients, suggests that low vitamin D means a more severe Covid-19 disease, with an increased stay in hospital, and an increased risk of mortality 2. These findings are most relevant to those people who are now entering winter, especially those with dark skin, because your vitamin D levels will be approaching their lowest level.

It’s important to note that these findings, although highly suggestive, do not definitively prove that vitamin D deficiency increases Covid-19 severity. Other known Covid-19 risk factors, such as age and obesity, are also associated with low vitamin D. In addition, several studies have failed to find a link between Covid-19 disease severity and vitamin D deficiency 3.

The role of vitamin D in protecting you from respiratory virus infection.

The lack of clarity around vitamin D supplementation, while frustrating, is unsurprising given that so many different variables affect Covid-19 disease outcome.

To shed more light on this important question, we now turn our attention to clinical trials that have examined the link between vitamin D and viral respiratory tract infections, such as colds and flus. Here, the evidence for vitamin D protecting you from the effects of respiratory viruses is far more compelling.

First, what is a meta-analysis?

A meta-analysis takes the results of multiple independent clinical trials, assesses each trial for quality, pools the high-quality clinical trial data, and performs a rigorous statistical analysis on the combined data set.

There are several advantages to this approach. First, meta-analyses have a large patient sample size, which increases their statistical power and allows us to be more confident in their conclusions. Second, because the Authors of the meta-analysis did not perform the clinical trials, they are less likely to bias their findings one way or the other.

What do the vitamin D meta-analyses show?

Two large meta-analyses have investigated the role of vitamin D levels on respiratory infection.

The first meta-analysis, performed in 2017, analysed the data from 25 clinical trials that included 10,933 participants 4. This analysis found that daily vitamin D supplementation provides significant protection against respiratory tract infections 4. Vitamin D supplementation was particularly effective for those participants who had low vitamin levels at the beginning of the trial 4.

Since 2017, additional clinical trials testing the efficacy of vitamin D supplementation against acute respiratory tract infection have been published 5. This fact, combined with the pressing need to find solutions to Covid-19, inspired the same research group to conduct a second, more comprehensive meta-analysis that included the new clinical trial data.

This second study incorporated 42 randomised clinical trials, which include the data from a total of 46,331 participants 5. That’s a lot of data! Importantly, this more comprehensive analysis confirmed that daily supplementation of vitamin D, at doses of 400-1000 IU per day, provides significant protection against respiratory viral infection 5.

What this means for you

Based on the evidence, we believe that you should consider supplementing your diet with vitamin D to reduce the risk from Covid-19 and other respiratory infections. For two reasons.

First, there is a strong correlation between low vitamin D levels and Covid-19 disease severity.

Second, the analysis of 42 randomised controlled clinical trials has revealed that vitamin D supplementation is protective against viral respiratory infection, including coronaviruses.

If you do choose to supplement with vitamin D, we recommend a daily supplementation of no more than 1000 IU of vitamin D per day. For many vitamin D supplements, that’s just one capsule per day!

This is not only the most effective dose for virus protection, but it’s also safe 4-6.

To download the free PDF of this article, please click on the link below.

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References and Further Reading

1             Yelin, D. et al. Long-term consequences of COVID-19: research needs. Lancet Infect Dis 20, 1115-1117, doi:10.1016/s1473-3099(20)30701-5 (2020).

2             Pereira, M., Dantas Damascena, A., Galvão Azevedo, L. M., de Almeida Oliveira, T. & da Mota Santana, J. Vitamin D deficiency aggravates COVID-19: systematic review and meta-analysis. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 1-9, doi:10.1080/10408398.2020.1841090 (2020).

3             Ali, N. Role of vitamin D in preventing of COVID-19 infection, progression and severity. J Infect Public Health 13, 1373-1380, doi:10.1016/j.jiph.2020.06.021 (2020).

4             Martineau, A. R. et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. Bmj 356, i6583, doi:10.1136/bmj.i6583 (2017).

5             Jolliffe, D. A. et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of aggregate data from randomised controlled trials. medRxiv, doi:10.1101/2020.07.14.20152728 (2020).

6             Anagnostis, P. et al. Vitamin D supplementation and fracture risk: Evidence for a U-shaped effect. Maturitas 141, 63-70, doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2020.06.016 (2020).

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Information written and expressed on this website is for education purposes and interest only. It is not intended to replace advice from your medical or healthcare professional.

You are encouraged to make your own health care choices based on your own research and in conjunction with your qualified practitioner.
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Woman Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra for Better Sleep

Disrupted sleep increases anxiety and depression. Yoga Nidra is an effective method that has helped many people overcome insomnia.

Beautiful Woman Running On Treadmill

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Emerging research shows that low-intensity cardio is the best way to improve your metabolic and cardiovascular health.

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