Supplementing vitamin D has gotten a lot of press lately. There is a good reason for this. In areas the world that have less sunlight, like Michigan, doctors are finding that their patients are becoming deficient in vitamin D. I would say 9 out of 10 of my clients have been prescribed vitamin D by their doctor.
Now for my disclaimer!
Make sure to check with your doctor before you take a vitamin D supplement. I don’t play a doctor on the internet. I simply share the research and information that I find.
COVID-19 And Vitamin D
Your vitamin D levels will not determine if you get COVID-19 or not. We all have a risk of catching this devastating virus. However, one of my favorite researchers, Dr. Rhonda Patrick of Found My Fitness has done a wonderful job and looking through the research on COVID-19 and how vitamin D levels can affect the immune system and the virus. I was so intrigued by her findings and I wanted to share some with all of you.
- One study suggests that Vitamin D may reduce COVID-19 fatality by suppressing cytokine storm. Data from 10 countries found people with vitamin D deficiency were twice as likely to experience severe COVID-19 complications, including death.
You can read more of the research on this here.
- A retrospective study found that for each standard deviation increase in serum vitamin D people were 7.94 times more likely to have a mild rather than severe COVID-19 outcome and were 19.61 times more likely to have a mild rather than critical outcome.
- In this short clip taken from a recent Q&A, I explain why maintaining a healthy vitamin D status may turn out to be an important factor in protecting against susceptibility to lung injury in COVID-19. Watch the short clip by clicking here.
There are many more studies on the topic of COVID-19 and vitamin D that you can look at. Again, this is all research in this infancy and proper vitamin D levels are not a cure and do not prevent COVID-19. This is just creating awareness that we all need proper vitamin D levels and that so many of us are deficient.
Here are some reasons why Vitamin D is so crucial.
Vitamin D helps absorb calcium, which affects bone development and growth. It boosts immune function and improves muscle strength and mass. Research has started to defend vitamin D’s role in decreasing our risk for certain cancer types as well as diabetes and arthritis. When we spend time in the sun, our body naturally produces vitamin D. As you well know, minimal amounts of sun are present in Michigan as the winter season approaches. In children, vitamin D deficiencies result in soft bones and delayed growth.
In adults, there is a risk of osteomalacia (muscle weakness and pain), which increases the likelihood of falls.
Vitamin D and Athletic Performance
No definitive results have shown that vitamin D increases athletic performance. In a May 2001_ study of vitamin D levels affecting muscular strength, Baker et al. studied recreationally active subjects who had not suffered from any type of chronic disease, who were not pregnant, obese, or taking any type of medication. The subjects performed exercises to result in muscular deficits (producing an inflammatory response lasting for a couple of days). Markers of inflammation and vitamin D levels, before, during, and after an intense exercise, the protocol was taken.
Pre-exercise concentrations of serum 25(OH) D, the most accurate way to determine the vitamin D level in the body, did influence the rate of recovery of skeletal muscle strength after an acute bout of intense exercise. Immediately, post-exercise researchers noted a significant increase in vitamin D concentrations.
The pre-exercise concentrations predicted muscular weakness. Participants with optimal vitamin D concentrations bounced back better after intense exercise.
Have your vitamin D levels checked at your next visit to the doctor? If you are deficient in vitamin
D, it can affect overall health as well as performance and exercise recovery.
What Are Good Sources of Vitamin D?
Salmon, mushrooms, cod liver oil, and proper vitamin D supplements that also contain Vitamin K to help absorption are all good sources of vitamin D, but the best source is the sun!