To be sure, there are currently no vaccines or supplements that can definitively prevent anyone from contracting COVID-19 or even the common cold. There is certainly evidence, however, that vitamin D plays an important role in helping to prevent diseases ranging from heart disease and cancer to common colds, flu and respiratory infections.
Vitamin D can be obtained by what we eat, or our bodies can make it through a process triggered by the action of sunlight on our skin. There are not many food sources of vitamin D though, so most people need to take supplements if they’re not able to get enough sunlight.
Vitamin D’s functions in the body include helping to build bone and muscle strength, including the strength of the heart, which is also large muscle. It appears to lower the risk of colon and other cancers, as well as improving the chances of cancer survival.
Vitamin D also plays an important role in regulating the immune system by boosting the ability of white blood cells to fight pathogens as well as decreasing damaging inflammation. This includes our body’s defenses in fighting infectious disease like flu and the common cold.
It is well known that the flu virus is most active in winter months, and usually subsides in the summer. It’s also a fact that vitamin D levels are the lowest in the winter because we spend less time in the sun. Studies have shown that both children and adults who have lower levels of vitamin D are more likely to have coughs, colds and respiratory infections while those who supplement with vitamin D lower their risk of these infections. It also makes sense that during summer months, when people spend more time in the sun, the incidence of colds and flu is lower.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 1000 to 4000 IU per day, and it’s a great idea to try to get at least 15 minutes of sunshine every day if you can. With Spring upon us and warmer temperatures on their way, get outdoors and let the sun help you build your immune system. Be sure to maintain social distancing though and remember that although vitamin D will help keep you well, you need to continue to follow proper hand washing and protective measures to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus and other illnesses.