Heading into the winter months signals the beginning of cold and flu season. Because of flu bugs and COVID, it’s imperative to maintain several positive health habits. These health habits include regular exercise, consuming healthy and nutritious foods, getting adequate sleep and potentially supplementing one’s diet with vitamins. These are often your first line of defense in keeping you healthy.
Emerging research is discovering that vitamin D is more important than ever, as it is both a vitamin and a hormone that is essential for nearly every bodily function.
Here are some fast facts about vitamin D and the role it plays in your health.
With October’s early snowfall this week, some of us have already begun bundling up and deciding to stay inside. But when we’re inside, we miss out on the important benefits of being outdoors. Often nicknamed “the sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D mostly enters our bodies via the sun, which is absorbed by our skin and then converted into a usable form by cholesterol. Because we live in Iowa, we make little or no vitamin D in our skin during the winter months.
Supplement with vitamin D
About 50 percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, and that number is even higher for those of us who live in the Midwest. This is why it’s important to check your vitamin D levels with your physician. This can be done with a simple blood test. If you find that you are vitamin D deficient, your doctor may suggest a vitamin D supplement — especially during Iowa’s cold winter months.
Foods that are good sources of vitamin D include: cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, tuna, milk, yogurt, sardines, eggs, and cereals fortified with vitamin D.
Risks of being vitamin D deficient
Those who are deficient in vitamin D are at an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, age-related brain diseases, osteoporosis, and autoimmune disorders. Low vitamin D levels can contribute to depression, “winter blues” or even Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency can include, but are not limited to: tiredness, aches and pains, general sense of not feeling well, stress fractures, increased bone and/or muscle pain. Supplementing with vitamin D may help boost mood, the immune system and heart health.
While there is no treatment or surefire way to prevent COVID-19, some studies show a strong potential correlation between vitamin D supplementation and a decrease in the severity of COVID-19 effects. A study published in May 2020 found that those with vitamin D deficiencies have a higher risk of mortality from COVID-19. Results from the first ever randomized clinical control trial of its kind, found vitamin D supplementation can be effective in lowering the rate of COVID-19 intensive care unit admissions. These studies were published in the journal Aging Clinical and Experimental Research.
Regardless of its impact on COVID-19, vitamin D is critical for overall health and well-being. Hopefully this information inspires you as you continue to take steps toward your healthiest self.
Kylie Alger is a certified wellness coach and co-owner of the Well-Woman: Body, Mind & Spirit. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Kylie Alger, Commit to be Fit
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More evidence is needed to learn about how not having enough vitamin D may play a factor in your risk for getting the novel coronavirus, or its severity.
At-home tests are on the market so people can check their levels, but some doctors think you’re better off seeing a real doctor for the test.
Another recent study linked vitamin D deficiency to being at an increased risk for COVID-19, once again posing the question: Are you getting enough of the vitamin?
Vitamin D is critical for immune system function. Vitamin D supplements have been shown to reduce the risk of viral respiratory tract infections, and that may also be true for COVID-19, according to David Meltzer, MD, who led the study, published last month in JAMA Network Open.
Along with his team, Meltzer, chief of hospital medicine at UChicago Medicine, evaluated 489 patients in the hospital system who had their vitamin D levels checked within a year of COVID-19 testing. They found that those who were deficient were almost twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared to those who had adequate levels in their bodies.
What Is an Adequate Level of Vitamin D?
Adults under the age of 70 are advised to get 15 mcg (or 600 IU) of vitamin D per day. If you are 71 years of age or older, 20 mcg (or 800 IU) is recommended.
Previous research has explored the potentially protective relationship between vitamin D and COVID-19. A study published in August highlighted vitamin D deficiency in COVID-19 patients who experienced acute respiratory failure. An October study on 50 COVID-19 patients linked a high dose of a type of vitamin D (calcifediol) with lower rates of intensive care unit (ICU) treatment.
Given that vitamin D is involved in many bodily functions and plays an important role in immune health, Elizabeth Shaw, RDN, a nutritionist from California, recommends getting your vitamin D levels checked.
“Vitamin D concern is something I’ve seen become increasingly of interest over the last three years in my practice due to the fact so many individuals across the U.S. have low vitamin D levels,” Shaw tells Verywell. “As with everything, 2020 and the pandemic has definitely increased the public’s interest.”
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, bone and joint pain, and depression.
How Can You Test Your Vitamin D Levels?
Typically, vitamin D levels are measured via routine blood work. But many Americans are delaying check-ups to maintain social distancing. An at-home test is an option to keep tabs on your vitamin D levels.
“Over the past decade, there has been an increased interest in vitamin D testing and nearly a dozen different test options are available,” Stefano Guandalini, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist at UChicago Medicine, tells Verywell. “The overwhelming majority are self-collected blood tests including at-home finger prick options like imaware.”
Everlywell, Drop, and myLAB Box are other brands that offer at-home vitamin D tests. Each relies on a finger prick blood sample.
“Any at-home testing should be done by individuals who know or feel they may be at risk for low levels,” Guandalini says. These groups may include:
people with dark skin
people with autoimmune conditions
people with gastrointestinal disorders resulting in malabsorption
“Depending on the company you purchase from, you’ll experience similar [testing] practices to that of a traditional lab you would visit in-person,” she says. However, user error is always a possibility with at-home tests. If you are considering one, Shaw says to make sure you follow all protocols prior to testing.
“Appointments for walk-in blood tests are also available through laboratory locations such as LabCorp and others,” Guandalini says.
Drawbacks of At-Home Testing
“The at-home vitamin D tests seem appealing, but I would rarely encourage someone to interpret a lab result without the care of a health provider,” Melissa Majumdar, RD, a registered dietitian at Emory University Hospital Midtown in Georgia, tells Verywell. “Labs are often interpreted in the context of other labs and should not be evaluated in a silo.”
A registered dietitian can help identify the best way to take a supplement or increase food sources of the vitamin. For example, you should take vitamin D with a fat source for better absorption.
“Some providers may recommend treating a vitamin level if it is trending down, even before it is in the deficient range, or be able to relate a vitamin deficiency to a certain medication, lifestyle practice, or change in health,” Majumdar, who is also a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says. “These are all important conversations and cannot be included in an at-home kit.”
Because so many healthcare providers are using telemedicine, Majumadar says that if you do want to use an at-home test, a follow-up telehealth appointment may be a good idea to talk through your results.
What This Means For You
Checking your vitamin D levels may be helpful, but taking vitamin D is not a prevention method for COVID-19, and it’s not a cure-all for respiratory infections. Other vitamins and minerals are important for immune function, along with diet, lifestyle, sleep, and stress management.
Vitamin D and Immune Health
“While you cannot ‘boost’ your immune system, you can certainly support it with proper nutrition and supplementation when necessary,” Shaw says. “Given the research coming out surrounding COVID-19 and vitamin D levels, I would definitely encourage the public to speak with their healthcare team to figure out the supplement level that is right for them.”
“To clarify, we don’t want to boost immunity,” Majumdar says, explaining an optimally-functioning immune system is what people need. “‘Boosting’ implies that the immune system is on overdrive, or compensating for an outside invader.”
Martin Hewison, PhD, a professor of molecular endocrinology at the University of Birmingham, has studied vitamin D and the immune system. He tells Verywell that he doesn’t think at-home tests are worth the effort unless you are severely deficient and are at risk of bone disease.
“A key point here is that we do not know what an optimal levels of vitamin D is for combatting COVID-19,” Hewison tells Verywell.
Even if you have a measurement taken, all that a clinician can tell you is whether you are deficient or not.
“We don’t know what level of vitamin D enhances your immune function, so I don’t think that it is worth bothering with assays,” he says. “I would just suggest taking a daily supplement. I take 2,000 IU/day (50 micrograms/day) but this is purely my preference. Assume that you are likely to have low vitamin D levels during the winter and early spring and simply take a supplement.
Steven A. Abrams, MD, a pediatrics professor at the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, says many people are outside less due to the pandemic, so taking a routine supplement “isn’t a bad idea.”
But taking vitamin D will not prevent or treat severe COVID-19 infection.
“That has not been shown in any substantial trials,” Abrams tells Verywell.
“The home tests are fine, although they seem like a lot of trouble compared to just taking a supplement,” he says.
By Dr. Mahboubeh Hashemi, ND and Dr. Matthew Cavaiola, ND
As fall and winter are fast approaching, many people, and maybe you, are anxious about what’s in store for this flu season. This year’s flu season promises to be even more dramatic as it intersects with the ever-continuing health pandemic that continues across the globe and in our communities. Flu prevention, therefore, may be more important than it ever has been before.
Did you know that there are many action steps that you can take now to help your body’s immune system stay strong? Making sure to eat a healthy diet, devoid of large quantities of refined sugar, is a great starting point. Dr. Matthew Cavaiola, ND, co-founder of Conscious Human Medicine in downtown Santa Monica, stated “One of the biggest culprits for suppressing your body’s immune system and making you more susceptible to viral infections is sugar. Eating foods high in sugar can weaken your white blood cells, a crucial part of your immune system, for 5 hours or longer.” Other extremely important factors to take into consideration when trying to boost the health of your immune system include getting adequate sleep, reducing your stress levels and making sure that you have adequate vitamin D levels in your blood. Dr. Cavaiola added “Naturopathic doctors can run laboratory tests to determine the health of your immune system and guide you in coming up with a comprehensive and individualized plan to prevent you from getting sick.”
One of the most cutting-edge therapies that you should consider this flu season is Intravenous (IV) Vitamin Therapy. IV Vitamin Therapy, especially the Myer’s IV Treatment, delivers the most important immune-boosting nutrients, like vitamin C, B vitamins and magnesium, directly into your bloodstream. It is nearly impossible to reach optimal levels when taking these vitamins orally as compared to IV Vitamin Therapy. This is because when you take vitamins by mouth they have to be processed by the body and their absorption in the gastrointestinal tract is often impaired. When the body becomes supersaturated with these powerhouse vitamins using IV Vitamin Therapy, white blood cells are strengthened and this helps them respond faster when you are exposed to a virus. If you do get sick with the flu, IV Vitamin Therapy has also been shown to reduce the intensity and duration of an illness.
One of the most important immune-enhancing vitamins that you can receive while doing IV Vitamin Therapy is Vitamin C. Vitamin C is stored in your white blood cells and helps specialized immune cells called Natural Killer Cells (NK cells), T cells and B cells in fighting viral and bacterial infections. High-dose Intravenous Vitamin C (IVC) is a specialized IV Vitamin treatment where 10-50 grams of Vitamin C is infused directly into your bloodstream over the course of one to two hours. If you have ever taken vitamin C by mouth, you may realize that you can only take a certain amount before you get loose stools or intestinal upset. This is because vitamin C draws water into the intestines. Intravenous Vitamin C goes directly into your bloodstream, bypasses the intestines and thus you are able to take levels 5-25 times higher than you can tolerate orally. Dr. Mahboubeh Hashemi, ND, co-founder of Conscious Human Medicine stated, “We have seen amazing results using high-dose IVC in our practice to help our patients prevent viral infections and to reduce the severity and duration of a cold or virus, including the flu. High-dose IVC can even help in support against Lyme disease and other chronic viral infections, like Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Hepatitis.” She added “It is always important to work with a naturopathic doctor who can make sure that IV Vitamin Therapy and High-dose Vitamin C are safe for you and who can come up with a holistic treatment plan designed just for you.”
So, this flu season, consider IV Nutritional Therapy and High-dose Intravenous Vitamin C to prevent getting sick and help take the health of your immune system to the next level!
Several recent studies have looked at the impact of vitamin D and zinc on COVID-19.
One study of 489 people found that those who had a vitamin D deficiency were more likely to test positive for the virus.
Another study found that of 50 people with COVID-19 in the hospital, only one needed ICU treatment after being given high doses of vitamin D.
By this point, we’ve all seen patients in the hospital receive these supplements.
The most notable, President Trump, received a mixture of vitamin D and zinc along with a number of other experimental drugs.
Does it work?
According to the National Institutes of Health, because of the suspected benefits, availability and cheap cost, they’d like to find something this simple can cure or prevent coronavirus, but the truth is, it’s not proven yet.
Registered dietitian Erin Gussler explains the possible benefits, “They can help the immune system identify pathogens in the body, so helping the immune system recognize the virus in the body and they also are part of the immune system and the mechanism that blocks the viruses from being able to get into the cells.”
How much vitamin D do I need?
Unfortunately, between working inside and wearing sunscreen, Americans generally don’t soak up enough sun to produce vitamin D.
“You can find it naturally in liver, egg yolks, butter, oily fish,” Gussler said.
Ask your doctor for a blood test to determine how much vitamin D you may need with an over-the-counter pill. Gussler said needs can vary from 1,00 IUs to 50,000 IUs.
Should I take zinc?
“Research is really supporting that zinc supplementation does reduce the severity, the frequency and the duration of the common cold,” Gussler said. “Obviously the research isn’t quite out there on COVID but we can extrapolate that it does have a lot of immune benefits.”
If you’re sick, you may notice a boost of zinc can help you feel better. Both zinc and vitamin D are the main ingredients in many over-the-counter cold medicines.
If you’re not sick, Gussler recommends only taking zinc through a multi-vitamin, typically not large amounts by itself.
“Zinc and copper compete for the same receptor site in the body,” Gussler said. “So, if you do a lot of zinc and not supplementing copper and making sure you’re getting enough copper, you can actually create a copper deficiency which can cause anemia for some people.”
There are some zinc tablets that also contain copper, which you can ask your doctor if that’s a good option for you.
The foods which contain Zinc also contain copper, which naturally helps to balance each other: Meat, shellfish, chickpeas, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds.
Isn’t vitamin D deficiency common in the US?
It sure is!
Vitamin D deficiency is particularly common among Hispanic and black people, two groups who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Vitamin D deficiency is also more common in people who are older, and those who are obese or have high blood pressure. Again, these factors also increase the risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms.
Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.
According to a recent report by BBC news, scientists have been looking for volunteers to take part in a new trial test that will determine the role of vitamin D in fighting against Covid-19. The trial is led by a group of researchers from Queen Mary University of London and is funded by Barts Charity.
As against the process of developing a vaccine to stop the infection, this new trial will delve deeper into strengthening people’s immune system and improving their health. People who will be participating in the trial will be given a higher dose of Vitamin D than regular supplements, so as to see if there is any visible difference, as per reports.
While vitamin D has remained an important source of nutrient for our body as well as the immune system, it is only proper to first understand how it affects our immune system and whether or not it boosts our health conditions.
The relationship between Vitamin D and the immune system
Our immune system the line of defense that secures our body from possible infection and diseases. However, in order to be able to protect the body and activate its defenses, it must first seek the support of healthy nutrients, especially Vitamin D. With the help of its anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties, Vitamin D ensures the enhancement of immune cells that fight deadly pathogens.
That being said, low level of Vitamin D and vitamin deficiency can be associated with greater risk of acquiring diseases, infections and respiratory problems, which is why Vitamin D becomes extremely crucial for our health.
Can Vitamin D really fight the battle against Covid-19?
Well, there is no standard cure for the deadly virus yet and while each and every one of us has been taking precautions and maintaining social distancing, there have been few studies that have investigated the effect of vitamin D supplements or vitamin D deficiency on the risk of contracting the new coronavirus.
Reportedly, Vitamin D deficiency is more common in elderly people, among those who are overweight, black and Asian – groups that are at a higher risk of contracting the Covid-19 infection.
Therefore, while nothing has been determined at this stage, the new trial test seems to be a ray of hope for many. According to the Principal investigator David Jolliffe, the trial “has the potential to give a definitive answer” to whether vitamin D offers protection against Covid-19. “Vitamin D supplements are low in cost, low in risk and widely accessible; if proven effective, they could significantly aid in our global fight against the virus,” he adds.
Researchers from the Queen Mary University of London are looking for volunteers to take part in a new trial to see if Vitamin D can boost your immune system and battle against the novel coronavirus pandemic.
On joining the trial, people would be sent tablets in the post, which they have to take daily for at least six months, if a finger-prick test shows they are deficient in the “sunshine vitamin”, reports BBC.
Residents of UK have already been asked to consider taking supplements over the winter months when Vitamin D levels can go down. This will be to boost their general health, not only to stop disease.
‘Sunshine vitamin’ deficiency
Due to work from home amid pandemic, we all have to spend a bit too much time indoors. Vitamin D deficiency, which is more common in older people, overweight people, and in black, Asian people, are at an increased risk of becoming very ill with the Covid-19 virus.
This might also have a profound effect on our circadian rhythms, shifting sleep patterns and causing damage to our health way more than we will even realise.
Sunlight always helps to regulate alertness and mood. We have to rely on sunlight to convert cholesterol in the skin into vitamin D, which helps build strong bones, and plays a beneficial role in our immune system.
Vitamin D supplements are very safe but taking more than the recommended amount every day can be dangerous in the long run.
Trial to test if Vitamin D treats Covid
The trial, led by researchers from Queen Mary University of London and funded by Barts Charity, will be using higher doses of vitamin D than regular supplements.
Principal investigator David Jolliffe told BBC that the trial “has the potential to give a definitive answer” to the question of whether vitamin D offers protection against the deadly virus.
“Vitamin D supplements are low in cost, low in risk and widely accessible; if proven effective, they could significantly aid in our global fight against the virus,” Jolliffe added.
Meanwhile, global Covid-19 cases has topped 38.4 million, while the deaths have soared to over 1,091,240, as per the Johns Hopkins University.
As of today morning, the overall cases stood at 38,426,373 and the death toll increased to 1,091,245, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.
The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of infections and fatalities at 7,911,497 and 216,734, respectively. India comes next in terms of cases at 7,239,389, while the country’s death toll touched 110,586.
A vitamin D deficiency could make you more likely to catch coronavirus – here’s how to boost your levels (Photo: Shutterstock)
A new study has concluded that vitamin D could protect people from coronavirus, with adults deficient of the nutrient appearing more at risk of contracting Covid-19.
A total of 72 per cent of NHS workers surveyed who were lacking in the ‘sunshine vitamin’ also tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies – a sign of previous infection.
This compared to just 51 per cent for those who had a sufficient amount of vitamin D.
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The latest study, conducted by the University of Birmingham, tested NHS staff at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, one of the UK hospitals that treated the highest number of Covid-19 patients.
Blood samples from 392 healthcare workers were analysed in a two week period in May, towards the end of the first surge of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Samples were first tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies – proteins in the blood that show a person has built an immune response to the infection during previous illness. The samples also underwent testing to establish their levels of vitamin D, known to help boost the immune system and protect against the common cold.
Results showed that staff who were vitamin D deficient were more likely to report symptoms of body aches and pains.
Levels were also lower in staff who reported symptoms of fever, but not for those who had a cough or had suffered shortness of breath.
The study comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrongly told the House of Commons last week that a Government-funded trial investigating vitamin D showed it did not “appear to have any impact.”
Researchers from Brussels Free University in Belgium, have claimed giving out vitamin D supplements could be an “inexpensive mitigation strategy.”
In June, they said the risk of men being hospitalised with coronavirus was a fifth higher in those who were deficient in vitamin D.
In July a study published by Tel Aviv University, Israel, looked retrospectively at vitamin D levels in 782 people who tested positive for coronavirus and compared them with healthy people. People with vitamin D deficiency (below 30 ng/ml) were 45 per cent more likely to test positive for the virus, and 95 per cent more likely to be hospitalised.
Academics from the University of Glasgow in May refuted the theory of vitamin D protection, based on their work.
They studied vitamin D levels in 449 people from the UK Biobank who had tested positive for Covid-19. They found vitamin D deficiency was associated with an increased risk in infection, but not after adjustment for ethnicity.
This led the team to conclude that their “findings do not support a potential link between vitamin D concentrations and risk of Covid-19 infection.”
How much vitamin D do I need?
Currently, the NHS recommends people take 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day “to keep your bones and muscles healthy.”
Babies up to the age of one year need 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day.
A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram (mg). The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol μ followed by the letter g (μg).
Where is vitamin D found?
Vitamin D is found naturally in a small number of foods.
oily fish (such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel)
fortified foods (such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals)
Vitamin D supplements
Because of the lockdown, people have been forced to spend more time indoors and have seen less sunlight that normal.
The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that you take a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if you:
are not often outdoors – for example, if you’re frail or housebound
are in an institution like a care home
usually wear clothes that cover up most of your skin when outdoors
have dark skin – for example you have African, African-Caribbean or south Asian heritage
To maintain your health, one needs to exercise regularly, sleep well, drink enough water and eat a diet rich in all nutrients and powerful antioxidants, especially vitamin C.
A recent study by the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru (IISC) indicates that vitamin C eliminates and kills Mycobacterium smegmatis, a non-pathogenic bacteria. In addition to health problems, vitamin C also helps fight any fungal infections of the skin and nails. It is recommended to consume at least 500 mg of vitamin C daily as it helps boost immunity, and reduces the brutality and duration of colds, flu, and infections from viruses.
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen the body’s natural defenses. Antioxidants are molecules that boost the immune system by protecting cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. When these free radicals come together, it can favor a condition known as oxidative stress, which has been linked to many chronic diseases. Studies show that eating more vitamin C can increase levels of antioxidants in the blood by up to 30 percent, which helps the body’s natural fortification to fight infections.
One of the main reasons people take vitamin C supplements is to boost or restore their immunity.
* It stimulates the production of lymphocytes and phagocytes, which protect the body from infection.
Vitamin C also helps white blood cells function more efficiently while protecting them from damage by potentially harmful particles, such as free radicals.
* Studies have also shown that vitamin C may shorten wound-healing time.
Low levels of vitamin C have been linked to poor health outcomes. People with pneumonia tend to have low levels of vitamin C, and vitamin C supplementation has been shown to reduce recovery time.
As far as your skin is concerned, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals. It is an essential part of the skin’s defense mechanism. It is strongly transferred to the skin, where it acts as an antioxidant and helps to strengthen the skin barrier. But its skin-protecting benefits are not limited to its antioxidant properties. It has so many other skin healing properties that it deserves a permanent place in your medicine cabinet. Firstly, it is very acidic, when used topically and the skin is stimulated to heal itself by speeding up the production of collagen and elastin.
One of the easiest ways to increase your immunity against infection is to boost your intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that must be obtained from the diet or supplements. It has been linked to many wonderful health benefits, such as increasing levels of antioxidants, lowering blood pressure, boosting immunity, protecting skin from infection and many more. Vitamin C supplementation is a great and simple way to boost one’s immunity.
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Up your vitamin C intake this monsoon. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)
The current health crisis along with changing seasons makes is imperative that we focus on our diets and fitness. To keep healthy, one needs to exercise regularly, sleep well, drink adequate water and have a diet which is rich in all nutrients and also powerful antioxidants, especially vitamin C, says Sushant Raoranem, co-founder-director, Adroit Biomed Pvt Ltd.
A recent study by Bengaluru’s Indian Institute of Science (IISC) suggests that vitamin C encumbers and kills Mycobacterium smegmatis, a non-pathogenic bacterium. In addition to health problems, vitamin C also helps combat any fungal infections of the skin and nails. It is prudent to consume, therefore, at least 500mg of vitamin C on a day-to-day basis as it helps in advancing immunity, and plummeting the brutality and duration of common cold, flu and infections from viruses, he advises.
Here are some benefits of vitamin C which help us keep a check on our health
Reduces the risk of chronic diseases
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that can strengthen your body’s natural defences. Antioxidants are molecules that boost the immune system by protecting cells from harmful molecules called free radicals. When these free radicals gather, they can endorse a state known as oxidative stress, which has been linked to many chronic diseases. Studies show that consuming more vitamin C can increase your blood antioxidant levels by up to 30 per cent, which helps the body’s natural fortifications fight inflammation.
* It helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infections.
* Vitamin C helps white blood cells function more efficiently while shielding them from damage by potentially harmful molecules, such as free radicals.
* Studies have also shown that vitamin C may shorten healing time for wounds.
Low vitamin C levels have been linked to poor health outcomes. People who have pneumonia tend to have lower vitamin C levels, and vitamin C supplementations have been shown to curtail the recovery time.
Vitamin C for your skin
As far as your skin is concerned, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can neutralise free radicals. It is an essential part of the skin’s defense mechanism. It’s vigorously transported to the skin, where it acts as an antioxidant and helps reinforce the skin’s barrier. But, its skin-saving benefits aren’t limited to its antioxidant properties. It has plenty of other skin-healing properties that make it worthy of a permanent place in your medicine cabinet. For one, it’s highly acidic, when used topically and the skin is triggered to heal itself by accelerating the production of collagen and elastin.
One of the easiest ways of increasing your immunity against infections is enhancing vitamin C intake. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that must be obtained from the diet or supplements. It has been allied to many remarkable health benefits, such as boosting antioxidant levels, lowering blood pressure, boosting immunity, protecting skin from infections and many more. “Vitamin C supplements are a great and simple way to boost one’s immunity. It is recommended to use these, should there be a deficit of this antioxidant in your diet,” said Raoranem.
Why are some people more susceptible to COVID-19 versus others? In addition to risk factors such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disease, tobacco and opioid use, living arrangements and obesity, vitamin D deficiencies may play an important role in this pandemic.
In some, COVID-19 results in an over-response of the body’s immune system and causes serious illness and death. This over-response is called a “cytokine storm” and causes damage to the lungs and sets the stage for pneumonia. It is well-known that vitamin D is important for innate immunity, boosting immune function and suppression of an over-responsive immune system.
According to a recent study published in JAMA Open Network, vitamin D deficiency increases a person’s risk of COVID-19 by 77%, compared to those with sufficient levels of the nutrient (deficiency is less than 20 ng/mL). Cooper Clinic has assessed all patients’ vitamin D levels since 2007. Initially the average level was less than 30 ng/mL. Now the average level is almost 40 ng/mL primarily due to increased supplementation.
Vitamin D research has shown both weight and skin pigmentation affects synthesis of vitamin D. Another recent article published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology showed a direct relationship between low vitamin D status and a twofold increase in mortality for darker skinned people compared to lighter skinned people. A study published in the Annals of Epidemiology cites a fivefold increase in the risk of a positive COVID-19 test in African Americans.
Taking supplemental vitamin D3 daily (now recommended by Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health) might just be an inexpensive, safe way to help attack this pandemic. I always say, it is more beneficial and cost-effective to prevent disease than it is to find a cure.
Until a vaccine is available, there are several things you can do to help boost your immune system. This includes getting at least 30 minutes of exercise, collective or sustained, most days a week; consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; taking the right supplements including vitamin D3; getting seven to eight hours of sleep at night; refraining from smoking and using opioid drugs and using alcohol only in moderation (maximum of seven drinks per week). Exercise is more important now than ever, playing a key role in warding off illness and building a robust immune system.
Find a way to manage your stress during these times. Whether relaxing with a book, limiting social media, taking a nap, walking the dog or getting a massage, de-stressing can be of great value in building a healthy immune system.
Public health steps that have been proven beneficial according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention include wearing a mask, washing hands often, practicing social distancing, refraining from touching your face and staying home if you are sick.