Emerging evidence reveals how vitamin D can help patients with COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is produced by the skin when exposed to the sun. Most Americans are deficient in vitamin D, possibly due to lack of optimal sun exposure and / or poor diet. In order to achieve peak vitamin D levels from sun exposure, a person should stay in direct sunlight with most of the body exposed for 20 minutes in the peak sun (usually 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.). Vitamin D can be found as a fortification in many foods such as grains, cow’s milk, plant-based milks, while it is naturally found in some mushrooms. The specific vitamin D under study is said to be D3, also known as cholecalciferol.
So what are the data on vitamin D and COVID-19? Good, randomized and cross-sectional trials studies have shown that about 60% of patients with COVID-19 have vitamin D deficiency during their hospitalization, with men with advanced stages of COVID-19 pneumonia having the greatest deficiency. More astounding is that those with serum vitamin D levels below 20 ng / mL were 3.7 times more likely to die from COVID. This is a serious figure! More worryingly, these data are independent of comorbid status, which shows how important vitamin D is for healthy immune function.
Physiotherapists should recommend that adult patients take 4,000 IU per day of vitamin D3 (2,000 IU for children). The ideal mechanism for patients to achieve these goals would be supplementation or a combination of supplementation with fortified foods. The exact mechanisms of how vitamin D may improve the health function of people with COVID remain to be seen; However, some authors have suggested that vitamin D helps prevent a strong cytokine storm, which leads to aggressive lung failure and ultimately the need for ventilatory support.
Physiotherapy physicians (PTDs) and physiotherapy assistants (PTAs) need to be up to date on this current data for optimal treatment, prevention and collaboration with other members of the care team. Stay tuned for more on this and other nutritional information related to COVID. Stay Safe and Happy New Year!
Via Dr Sean Wells, Senior Instructor – Modern Nutritional Rehab
Get Certified In Nutritional Physiotherapy – Earn Your NCPT Online!
Disclaimer: The above article is written as an opinion piece and does not convey specific legal, medical and / or practical advice.
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