In a study published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research, researchers found a potential correlation between mean levels of Vitamin D and the number of cases and rates of mortality caused by COVID-19.

The study (tinyurl.com/yc4dnk5j) can provide guidance about the potential protective factor of Vitamin D in treating individuals infected with COVID-19 and is particularly important for individuals who are presently deficient in Vitamin D.

How can you use this information? Take these steps to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D.

• Pay attention to your Vitamin D levels. According to the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, the recommended daily dosage of Vitamin D should be 600-800 IU for most people.

• Spend time in the sunlight. It is important to protect yourself from too much sun, but getting adequate doses of Vitamin D takes very little unprotected sun exposure. Health experts recommend 8 to 15 minutes of sunlight for those with lighter skin and possibly longer for those with darker skin.

• Take a supplement. Most people can make sure they are getting the daily recommended amount of Vitamin D by taking a supplement. Between 1,000 and 4,000 IU is considered a safe dose for maintaining healthy levels of Vitamin D.

• Eat fatty fish and seafood. Fatty fish and seafood are among the highest dietary sources of Vitamin D. Those highest in Vitamin D include wild salmon (farmed has been shown to have up to 25 percent less), mackerel, tuna, oysters, shrimp, sardines and anchovies.

• Eat mushrooms. Mushrooms are the only complete plant-source of Vitamin D. Wild mushrooms such as maitakes have been shown to be higher than others in Vitamin D levels, but always make sure to carefully identify mushrooms to  be sure they are edible.

• Consider adding fortified foods to your diet. Because very few foods contain naturally high levels of Vitamin D, you can increase your levels by eating foods fortified with Vitamin D. Some of these foods are: cow’s milk; plant-based milk alternatives like almond, hemp and soy; tofu; orange juice; some cereals and certain types of yogurt

A deficiency in Vitamin D is a major public health concern throughout the world in all age groups, but is of particular concern for those over 70. Vitamin D levels deteriorate with age from decreased sun exposure and cutaneous synthesis.

Previous studies have examined the role Vitamin D supplementation plays in protecting against acute respiratory tract infections.

A 2017 meta-analysis revealed that patients who were Vitamin D deficient, often those over 70, experienced the greatest benefit.

Additional studies have demonstrated that Vitamin D plays numerous roles in the immune system response to infection, including impairing macrophages from maturing and producing antigens.

The major limitation of this study is that Vitamin D levels are not currently available for COVID-19 patients.

Researchers relied on previously established links between Vitamin D and the immune response to respiratory tract infections.

Based on these links, the researchers in this study were able to establish a correlation between Vitamin D levels and the rate of COVID-19 deaths; however, further research is needed to account for other factors through direct measurement of Vitamin D levels among COVID-19 patients.

Diet Detective Inc., headed by Charles Platkin, Ph.D., anutrition, fitness and public health advocate, is a not-for-profit organization working to uncover the mysteries and myths surrounding food, nutrition, fitness and medicine with the goal of educating, engaging, inspiring and creating a catalyst for meaningful change in personal and community health and wellness. Find out more at dietdetective.com.

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