At Mercola.com, Dr. Joseph Mercola discusses the mounting evidence in favor of vitamin D. He writes:
Evidence continues to pile up on vitamin D’s therapeutic potential against COVID-19, as well as its usefulness for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. I published a review on the importance of vitamin D for COVID-19 prevention and treatment in October 20201 and was widely vilified as a result.
Now, another review has been published highlighting vitamin D’s role in managing COVID-19 infection as well as preventing complications. Not only do vitamin D levels affect the severity of COVID-19 infection, the team wrote in the peer-reviewed journal Cureus, but maintaining optimal levels may reduce symptoms and related long-term problems.2
Vitamin D Modulates Your Immune System, Reduces Inflammation
One way vitamin D fights COVID-19 is via immune-modulating properties. It influences innate immunity by maintaining the integrity of physical barriers, helping to keep infectious agents from entering the body.
It also affects adaptive immunity, increasing human cathelicidin LL-37,3 antimicrobial peptides that have both antiviral and antiparasitic properties, and “act as a primary defense against bacteria and other pathogens in the case of inflammation.”4 Vitamin D also increases secretin of defensin immune proteins, which have antiviral properties. According to the review:5
“As the virus enters the respiratory system, defensins get attached to the influenza virus and accumulated onto the surface of the virus. This reduces the virulence of the virus. Ultimately leading to the destruction of the outer cell membrane thus reducing the viral load.”
Meanwhile, vitamin D blocks a pathway leading to increased vascular permeability in inflammatory conditions, helping to relieve related symptoms. It also suppresses proinflammatory cytokines and reduces the cytokine storm that causes symptoms in many inflammatory conditions.6
Vitamin D Cut COVID Rates by 54%
A meta-analysis and trial sequential analysis (TSA), the latter of which weighs errors in order to assess if further studies are needed,7 found giving vitamin D to people with COVID-19 cut risk of death from SARS-CoV-2 by 51% and reduced risk of admission to the intensive care unit (ICU) by 72%.8
COVID-19 patients supplemented with vitamin D not only had lower rates of ICU admission and fewer mortality events, but they also had lower rates of COVID-19 infection, by 54%.9 Further, the TSA revealed “the protective role of vitamin D and ICU admission showed that, since the pooling of the studies reached a definite sample size, the positive association is conclusive.”10
To put it another way, the results suggest “a definitive association between the protective role of vitamin D and ICU hospitalization.”11 The team shared why it makes perfect sense that vitamin D fights COVID-19, stating:12
“COVID-19 is characterized by high levels of inflammatory markers, including C-reactive protein (CRP), and increased levels of inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. In this sense, various data have demonstrated the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunomodulatory properties of vitamin D, in addition to the importance of vitamin D for bone health, as well as its role in extra-skeletal function.”
Specific examples of how vitamin D may be beneficial in the case of COVID-19 include that it:13
Maintains pulmonary barrier function Determines the production of antimicrobial peptides Enhances neutrophil activity, which boosts the innate immune response Shifts that adaptive immune response to a more T helper cell-2 type Reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines Increases the anti-inflammatory response
Vitamin D is also protective against acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a lung condition that’s common in severe COVID-19 cases, which causes low blood oxygen and fluid buildup in the lungs. Along with cytokine release syndrome, ARDS is one of the deadliest complications of COVID-19, and vitamin D inhibits the metabolic pathways that may cause it.14
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