Can Vitamin D Protect Against COVID-19
Frost is in the air and depending where you reside, either the snow is settling or the rain is sinking into an inner part of your body you never realized could get cold. The days are becoming frustratingly short while the nights are becoming lonesome and long. The joy of Christmas and New Years is swiftly replaced by the nagging thought in the back of my mind, this is cold and flu season.
Normally, I would shrug it off. Wrap up in a warm jacket and scarf, put on those furry boots and embrace the outdoors, ignoring the sniffles and that winter cough which comes every year. I’d embrace a glass of pinot noir, a succulent orange and carry on as normal. ‘Tis the season after all. But this isn’t the season. That normal winter cough and sniffle is being given discouraging looks. A sudden sneeze on my porch as I collect my mail leads to my neighbour rushing indoors. I’m embraced by fear of getting sick and not only that, could I die this year? From a flu?
By now, we are all aware of the dangers that COVID-19 presents. There still remains confusion of the exact symptoms, who suffers the most and who is more likely to die from this. While the medical world is rapidly struggling through data trying to ascertain how this really works, one thing is for sure, this is serious. SARS and MERS were similar and a concern, but, well to be honest it didn’t affect me. This is on my doorstep.
Resolve to Sanitize
During this time there seems to be few options. Stay indoors and only see people on the screen of your computer. After a summer being forced to remain indoors, I’m immediately averse to this idea. The alternative is to lather on hand sanitizer, wear my mask and hope to stay clear of everyone as I search for the sunshine like a personal game of Where’s Waldo.
The reality is mixed. Venturing out for emergency needs. Judging those that make different choices for what is COVID safe and all with an apparent reality that I don’t know what to do, or not do. Sanitizer is great, to a degree. A mask provides some comfort but mainly only helps those around me if I have it.
There has to be something else I can do? I’m young, I look after my body, I eat well, I don’t abuse it. Could it be that my body is naturally capable of protecting me against this deadly virus?
Hoping for Something Better
This week we have seen the emergence of vaccines promising to save us from the pandemic. The corporate history of the pharmaceutical industry immediately leads me from hope, to what are the side effects? Will I be able to have children? Will I die from a reaction to it? Will I grow another toe?
The reality settles in that the vaccine is a fantastic move forward for saving our society, but the reality remains that I don’t want to be the first one to take it. I’ve heard the horror stories of soldiers returning from wars with worse side effects than what they were saving them from. It’s a shame but the history of this industry and the choice to choose money over safety has lead to a complete distrust of these solutions on offer, particularly with what seemed like a race to who wants to be a zillionaire.
My search for the alternative lead me to the following:
- Drink less, or stop drinking - sorry had to start here;
- Exercise more – 11 minutes a day could save your future;
- Eat well – Put away the chips and grab the broccoli stalks;
- Sleep more;
- Stress less – if possible; and
- Vitamin D
The Natural Defence
While COVID-19 has shaped our mindsets and altered our lifestyles all year, this empowering ideology that our bodies may be equipped with natural defences to reclaim our livelihoods sounds surreal. The discovery of Vitamin D’s vitalizing powers offers hope and a sense of peace.
With the understanding that healthy levels of Vitamin D will not necessarily make us immune to COVID-19, it can provide us with the strength to stand up against the virus should we fall ill. The misconception that it was the Vitamin C in my oranges keeping me safe has been replaced with Vitamin D. Either way, COVID-19 is out of my hands, but my immunity levels are.
Can Vitamin D Protect Against COVID-19
There are actually a few studies that investigated the effect of Vitamin D, or more so the effect of Vitamin D deficiency on COVID-19.
In one study conducted over a 6-week period in August 2020, with 30-60 year olds, measured Vitamin D deficiency in COVID-19 inbound patients. This study split the 154 patients into 2 groups, asymptomatic (positive test showing no symptoms) – Group A and those requiring ICU admission – Group B.
31.86% of patients in Group A versus 96.82% of Group B patients were found to be Vitamin D deficient.
A recent review of 11,321 people from 14 countries demonstrated that supplementing with Vitamin D decreased the risk of acute respiratory infections (ARI), one of the severest symptoms of COVID-19.
The Cytokine Storm
Yes, we normally give our storms cute names, like Betsy, Dora or Donna. This one sounds a little robotic, and this is actually the severe term that needs to be addressed.
The cytokine storm refers to the uncontrolled release of pro-inflammatory cytokines that fights everything in it’s path. Leading to sever tissue damage and enhances the disease progression and how sever it is.
This storm that occurs in your body, is like a hurricane destroying everything in it’s path. It is the reasons you hear of organ failure from COVID-19. Your body is going overboard and killing everything from fear of what has arrived.
What is really interesting and I mean STOP THE CAR, this is really, really interesting, is the association of Vitamin D deficiency and the cytokine storm.
From the data that we currently have available, Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with reduced immune function and may enhance the cytokine storm.
That means not enough Vitamin D = potential cytokine storm.
If you are not a little scared right now, closing the blinds, locking the doors, turning off your phone, you are braver than me.
Vitamin D inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and enhances the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines,. Vitamin D inhibits the adaptive immune system and promotes the innate immune system which balances the immune response and provides an overall anti-inflammatory response, . So, Vitamin D balances your immune system to fight the virus rather than over-reacting and fighting everything. Kind of reminds me of family dinners over Thanksgiving and Christmas.
iLOLA Fights to Keep You Strong
After talking with the co-founders and scientific research and development team at iLOLA, I was not only floored to the level of work they go through in development, but also the passion they have to stay up to date with natural remedies.
There is a total belief in building our natural resources first. Using what we have and building our bodies into fortifications against illness, in whatever manner that enfolds.
As we stand on the verge of COVID-19 vaccines there is hope on this globe to move past 2020. As the iLOLA team work on new developments, including natural plant-powered ingredients fortified in vitamins and developing strength in the adversity, there remains that nagging feeling in the back of my mind.
While there is a vaccine for this virus, what is next? Will 2021 hold a different virus? Despite the vaccine will we see the 8-fold growth in carriers like the Spanish flu over the next 2 years? Will we see SARS or MERS on these shores?
For the time being, I am wearing my mask, I’m lathering my hands in sanitizer, I’m eating better, sleeping more, I’m leaving fruit baskets for my neighbour and I’m buying a whole load of iLOLA’s Wellness products. If Vitamin D is going to help me grow strong, then I want it now. I want my mother and grandmother to have it. The other option is side-effects, cytokine storm or simply death. Either way those are memories and moments I don’t ever want to have in my life.
1. Jain, A., Chaurasia, R., Sengar, N.S. et al. Analysis of vitamin D level among asymptomatic and critically ill COVID-19 patients and its correlation with inflammatory markers. Sci Rep10, 20191 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-77093-z
2. Martineau, A. R. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ 356, 6583–6594 (2017).
3. Gombart, A. F., Pierre, A. & Maggini, S. A review of micronutrients and the immune system-working in harmony to reduce the risk of infection. Nutrients.12(1), 236. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010236 (2020).
4. Baeke, F., Takiishi, T. & Korf, H. Vitamin D: modulator of the immune system. Curr. Opin. Pharmacol. 10, 482–496 (2010).
5. Kamboj, P., Dwivedi, S. & Toteja, G. S. Prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in India & way forward. Indian J. Med. Res. 148(5), 548–556. https://doi.org/10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1807_18 (2018).