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Vitamin D: The fight against COVID-19

Vitamin D: The fight against COVID-19

A new study on the efficacy of vitamin D in the fight against COVID-19 was recently published in the Irish Medical Journal

Researchers from the Technological University Dublin and Trinity College Dublin believe that, by reversing vitamin D deficiency through high-dose supplementation, CD26 is suppressed – the molecule responsible for permitting COVID-19 invasion.  Furthermore, the authors of the study suggest that vitamin D “may also attenuate interferon gamma and interleukin-6 inflammatory responses, both potent predictors of poorer outcome in critically-ill ventilated patients including those with Covid-19.” 

Vitamin D is known to influence the production of cytokines, regulators of inflammatory response.  The theory is that vitamin D helps prevent a “cytokine storm”, where a massive pro-inflammatory response takes place, as observed in those infected by COVID-19 and resulting in acute respiratory distress syndrome.

A minimum dose of 20 micrograms per day is therefore being called for to be provided to hospital in-patients, care home residents, and the elderly and vulnerable within the community.  In lieu of imminent vaccine success, it could be that vitamin D supplementation will subsequently be prescribed for populations in their entirety.  The previous RDA for vitamin D supplementation in autumn and winter was 10 micrograms.

A separate report in the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA) highlighted the crucial need for vitamin D supplementation in the elderly who are isolated in their homes.  Dubbing vitamin D “a potent immune modifying micronutrient”, the TILDA report also suggested those who are obese utilise vitamin D as a protective measure against respiratory illness, from which they are at an increased risk. 

From meta-analysis gathered over 25 trials with a total of 10,933 people, the occurrence of ARIs (Acute Respiratory Illnesses) developing during general colds and flu were seen to have been reduced by vitamin D supplementation by between 32% and 60%.

As Just Natural Health & Beauty previously reported, the role of vitamin D in staving off respiratory infection has long been known to be important.  Vitamin D stops inflammation occurring in the lungs through vitamin D receptors promoting the production of peptides, which fend off viruses, as well as bacteria and fungi.  Unfortunately, those who live in the northern hemisphere can’t absorb enough vitamin D from sunlight.  Indeed, 25% of the UK population is thought to be deficient and the University of Birmingham had previously called for wheat flour to be vitamin D-fortified. 

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