Vitamin D is important in regulation and suppression of inflammatory cytokine response which causes serious complications of Covid 19 infection and adult respiratory distress syndrome.
Cytokine storm is a medical complication found in Covid-19 patients, drawing commonality with SARS and MERS – all three diseases caused by coronavirus. Cytokine storm is an overreaction of the immune system, whose job is to fight off infections. This is the most common cause of death in Covid-19 patients.
Vitamin D has a role in preventing this cytokine storm. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which modulates the white blood cells, the principal immunity warriors in the body.
A lower level of Vitamin D in a Covid19 patient can seriously impact modulation of the immune response of the white blood cells. An overreaction of white blood cells leads to excessive release of inflammatory cytokines into blood causing the fatal complications.
Does Vitamin D help in prevention of respiratory infection?
The role of vitamin D in the response to Covid-19 infection could be two-fold. First, vitamin D supports production of anti-microbial peptides in the respiratory epithelium, ensuring coronavirus infection leads to milder form of Covid-19.
Second, vitamin D might help to reduce the inflammatory response to infection with SARS-CoV-2. Further, SARS-CoV-2 down-regulates ACE2 – a protein by hooking to it for entering human cell, vitamin D promotes its expression, thus countering infective move made by novel coronavirus.
Vitamin D protects older adults in acquiring acute respiratory infections who are the ones who are most seriously affected by Covid19 and deficient in D Vitamin. Healthy levels of vitamin D could protect patients against severe complications, including death from Covid19.
Can Vitamin D deficiency a risk factor for Covid19?
The prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency ranged from 40 per cent to 99 per cent, with most of the studies reporting a prevalence of 80 per cent-90 per cent. About 90 per cent of the required vitamin D is synthesized in the skin under exposure to the sun.
Having a healthy blood level of Vitamin D avoids admission to Intensive care unit and death if infected with Covid19. It has found that sickest patients often have lowest levels of Vitamin D.
Who are the people at risk of Vitamin D?
Elderly and dark-skinned people are at risk of Vitamin D deficiency and might benefit from vitamin D supplements, when it comes to strengthening their immune system. In dark-skinned people, the presence of melanin, which gives the skin a darker tone, lowers the skin’s ability to make vitamin D on exposure to sunlight.
Current lock-down also making us deprived of much needed Vitamin D from Sun.
What is the recommended dose of Vitamin D?
The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 600-800 IU/daily to maintain a healthy blood level of vitamin D, the recommended dose in children under age 1 year is 400 international units (IUs) of vitamin D daily, and people ages 1 year to 70 years take in 600 IUs. People over age 70 should get 800 IUs a day.
We are seeing most of us not maintain sufficient Vitamin D level with the above recommendations. We are suggesting now 2000 unit every day to adults.
Can Vitamin D alone fight Covid19?
No, certainly not. Social distancing, washing hands and wearing mask remain the primary weapon. Vitamin D can be an additional protective shield against coronavirus. Due to the lockdown, people are not coming out to Sun often, the deficiency of vitamin D might increase.