Vitamin D and COVID-19
Can taking Vitamin D save your life?
Posted May 6, 2020 | Reviewed by Gary Drevitch
Even with the new vaccines and treatments for COVID-19, prevention is still an important defense. Ever new variants of the novel Coronavirus are emerging across the globe which evade our current vaccines. So we must take all the preventive measures that we can.
Medical scientists tell us that frequent hand washing, wearing a face mask when in public places, and social distancing are important measures. A less discussed preventive measure, however, is the fact that having a robust Vitamin D level may play a significant role in preventing COVID-19 or at least avoiding severe illness and hospitalization. Recently, a string of studies have identified Vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for the disease.
A University of Chicago study found that “Vitamin D deficiency that is not sufficiently treated is associated with COVID-19 risk.” This result supports the idea that having an insufficient vitamin D level increases the risk for COVID-19 and suggests that treatment for vitamin D deficiency can reduce that risk.
A study in the Philippines found that in patients infected with COVID-19, the patient’s level of Vitamin D was significantly associated with clinical outcomes. Vitamin D deficiency was associated with a higher level of death from the disease. And a study by researchers at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Foundation Trust and the University of East Anglia in the UK prompted the authors to advise that vitamin D supplementation could protect against respiratory infections like COVID-19. Similarly, a recent study from Switzerland led researchers to “advise Vitamin D supplementation to protect against SARS-CoV2 infection.”
In early April 2020, I received an email about the COVID-19 epidemic from the renowned endocrinologist and former associate professor of medicine at UCLA, Sarfraz Zaidi, M.D.. Zaidi had previously cured me of an autoimmune disorder with large doses of vitamin D3, saving me from more invasive and Draconian cures. Zaidi had been talking with doctors in Iran, a country hard-hit by the COVID-19 epidemic. He wrote in his email: “Doctors from Iran who took care of severe cases of COVID-19 found most patients who died had vitamin D level of less than 50 ng/ml. It is no surprise to me. The optimal level of vitamin D — 25 OH Vitamin D — is between 50-100 ng/ml according to my own vast clinical experience…”
How does Vitamin D help fight respiratory infections like COVID-19? Zaidi explains: “Vitamin D stimulates the production of CAMP — Cathelicidin Anti-Microbial Peptide — from our own immune cells. Think of CAMP as our natural Anti-Viral agent.”
So how much Vitamin D should we be taking to help our immune system fight off COVID-19? The usual amount of vitamin D in daily multivitamins is 600 to 1000 IU (International Units). This is the general recommendation for adults. Zaidi disagrees. This dose, he says, is too small to get our vitamin D levels into the optimal range, especially if we are vitamin D deficient to begin with. Instead, he recommends, we need “a daily dose of 5000 to 15000 IU depending upon your weight — 5000 IU for every 100 Lbs. a dose I established based on my vast clinical experience.” Zaidi also recommends taking a daily dose of 50 mg. of zinc to help build up the immune system.
However, most doctors would say there is a caveat to taking high doses of vitamin D. Unlike most vitamins, Vitamin D is not water soluble. It is stored in the body’s fat tissue. Because it is not eliminated like other vitamins, too much vitamin D can cause a buildup of calcium in the blood. This is why doctors generally recommend a dose of no more than 600-800 IU for most adults if the person does not have a Vitamin D deficiency in the first place.
What the various recent studies find is that having a Vitamin D level lower than 30ng/ml is a severe deficiency in Vitamin D and puts a person at higher risk of dying from a case of COVID-19.
The evidence suggests that having your Vitamin D level tested regularly and discussing with your doctor whether you need a higher level of Vitamin D supplements than you are currently taking, is one more way you can prevent having a more severe, and potentially fatal, case of COVID-19.