How Did Vitamin D Help Fight COVID-19?
Mimi Uong, FNP
You’ve heard the power of Vitamin D and its potent effect on the immune system. You’ve heard it emphasized many times during this pandemic. Well, the first recent randomized controlled trial is here to confirm its powerful role on this novel virus. Here is a summary of the trial:
- Sample size: 76 patients
- Setting: Hospitals
- Design: Patients were confirmed with positive SARS-COV-2 PCR, positive acute respiratory infection (confirmed by imaging). They all were put on standard hospital treatment protocol. 50 patients were treated with vitamin D, and 26 did not receive vitamin D supplement.
- Vitamin D dosages:
- Day of admission: 106,400 IU on day 1
- Days 3-7: 53,200 IU day
- Then 7,600 IU per dat after until discharge, ICU admission, or death
- Out of the 50 patients, 1 required ICU admission (2%). None died (0%).
- Out of the 26 patients, 13 required ICU admission (50%). 2 died (7.7%)
So now that the world is convinced that vitamin D is critical, these are the common questions that often get asked:
“How much of vitamin D should I take then to keep my immune system up?”
This depends where your level is, and multiple other factors:
- The reference range of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25D) is 30-60ng/ml. If you are on the low end of the range, then you definitely would want to supplement. During this time, it is best to keep your vit D level at 60-100ng/ml
- Location: Depending on where you live, you might only get enough sun between May through October for vitamin D production.
- Genetics, skin tone: You might have genetic variances that prevent vitamin D synthesis, activation, and transport. Therefore, you might need more vitamin D supplementation than others. The darker the skin tone, the more sun exposure you’d need as well.
It is best to consult your healthcare provider for appropriate vitamin D supplementation.
“If I’m exposed to a known COVID-19 person, how much vitamin D should I be supplementing?”
Consider taking a higher dose of vitamin D for short-term. This also depends on your health status and your latest vitamin D level. A very important note: When you increase vitamin D, you are also increasing the need for other nutrients/cofactors such as vitamin A, vitamin K, and magnesium. These nutrients help with the multiple conversion steps for vitamin D to be delivered to the cells. Ensure that you are getting these important nutrients through either foods or supplements.