Vitamin D is well known for its benefits to our bone health, such as preventing rickets in children and osteoporosis and fractures in the elderly.
Do you know that Vitamin D can also play a critical role in COVID 19 prevention?
Vitamin D is a Hormone
Vitamin D is not an ordinary vitamin but a steroid hormone. Like insulin, sex hormones, and growth hormone, vitamin D makes our body produce changes that affect our whole body at multiple levels.
Interferes with the replication of coronavirus in the body
Because Vitamin D is soluble in fat, it can penetrate the cell membrane, enter the cell and eventually enter the nucleus. It can, therefore, directly participate in and affect the replication of messenger ribonucleic acid.
Because coronavirus uses messenger RNA in the body to reproduce and survive; therefore, vitamin D’s ability to interfere with coronavirus replication helps the body protect itself.
Regulating the Gene Expression
Vitamin D has its receptors on cells, which means that it affects wherever there are receptors. Since there are receptors on the cell membrane and receptors in the nucleus, vitamin D can regulate gene expression and affect its function and activity.
Vitamin D receptors are distributed in the digestive system, kidneys, and bones. That is why we need vitamin D to keep bones healthy.
Vitamin D receptors also exist in immune cells, such as T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, monocytes, macrophages, etc. These cells play a crucial role in our body's fight against bacterial and viral infections.
Studies have found that the changes in the immune indicators of people with vitamin D deficiency are very similar to those of people who get infected by COVID 19. In other words, if you have a vitamin D deficiency, you already have immune dysfunction identical to the symptom of COVID 19. As a result, the COVID 19 patients with Vitamin D deficiency suffer from more severe syndrome and a greater risk of death.
Vitamin D receptors also exist on the endothelial cells of blood vessels and regulate vascular endothelial cells’ differentiation and function. Therefore, vitamin D deficiency may cause vascular endothelial damage and dysfunction. Studies have found that people with vitamin D deficiency are prone to high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure, and myocardial ischemia.
Besides, vitamin D can inhibit new small blood vessels and hinder the tumor’s growth and spread.
The COVID -19 not only damages the respiratory tract and lungs but, more importantly, caused thrombosis and severe ischemia in essential organs throughout the body. Vitamin D deficiency will affect the damage and function of endothelial cells, affect the blood clotting mechanism, and increase thrombosis risk.
Mental and Brain Health
Vitamin D receptors are also widely present in our brains. It directly affects our memory, concentration, emotions, and thinking. To ensure the brain function well, it needs sufficient blood supply, water and electrolytes, and normal immune function. Vitamin D deficiency’s impact on immune and cardiovascular function will cause brain problems.
Clinical studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is related to Alzheimer's disease, ADHD, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is not to say that vitamin D deficiency causes these diseases, but that vitamin D deficiency makes these patients more susceptible to these diseases or becomes more serious. Taking sufficient vitamin D may help improve symptoms and mental and brain function.
It is especially so when social isolation and economic recession during the pandemic increased mental stress and worsened mental illness, and affected people's immune function and ability to fight with covid.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
According to the study, over 60% of people in the world have vitamin D deficiency. This number is much higher among the clinically tested patients. A blood test will tell you the vitamin D level in your body. However, the following symptoms may indicate your vitamin D deficiency:
- Lack of energy
- Memory loss
- Chronic back pain and muscle pain
- Bone pain, bone loss, and tendency to bone fractures
A Few Simple Ways to Obtain Vitamin D
- Increase Outdoor activity and Time of Sun Exposure
People who don’t get outdoors too much, having dark skin, being overweight or obese need to supplement more Vitamin D.
1. Eat Food Rich in Vitamin D
2. Fish (Salmon, sardines, herring)
- Take Vitamin D Supplement
A blood test helps determine if you need and how much you need for Vitamin D supplementation. However, if you have liver, kidney, and digestive diseases, you need to consult with your doctor.