With the world in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health policies that could decrease the danger of infection and even death along with less quarantines are greatly needed. Vitamin D supplementation shows promise in reducing those risks in both the COVID-19 virus and influenza.
Through a variety of mechanisms, Vitamin D could decrease the chance of infections. These mechanisms such as inducing defensins and cathelicidins which are both cysteine rich cationic proteins that play a critical role in mammalian innate immune defense against invasive bacterial infections. These proteins may decrease viral replication rates and reduce concentration levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines that cause inflammation that damages the lung linings and may lead to pneumonia and increasing concentration levels of anti-inflammatory cytokines also.
Vitamin D is a modulator of adaptive immunity. It suppresses responses mediated by the T help cell type by primarily repressing production of inflammatory cytokines. Serum concentrations tend to decrease with age which may be critical to COVID-19 because case fatality rates increase with age.
Several clinical trials and observational studies have reported that taking Vitamin D decreased the risk of influenza, and others could not. Supporting evidence of the role Vitamin D may play in reducing the risk of COVID-19 includes that the outbreak resulted in the winter which is a time when
25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations are at their lowest. The amount of cases in the Southern Hemisphere at summers end are low. Additionally it has been found that Vitamin D deficiency may promote acute respiratory distress syndrome and that fatality rates can increase as a person ages and with extreme disease comorbidity, which both are associated with decreased (25(OH)D) concentration.
To minimize the promotion of infection, it has been recommended that if you are at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 would maybe take 10,000 IU/d of Vitamin D3 for a couple of weeks to rapidly increase 25(OH)D) levels followed by 5,000 IU/d. The goal is to increase 25(OH)D) levels of concentrations above 40-60 ng/mL. For the treating people that have already become infected with COVID-19, higher levels of Vitamin D3 doses could be useful.
Magnesium supplementation is recommended when taking Vitamin D supplements as it helps activate Vitamin D which in turn promotes regulation of calcium and phosphate homeostasis to affect maintenance and growth of bones. All enzymes which will metabolize Vitamin D appear to need Magnesium, acting as a cofactor in the enzymatic reactions of the kidneys and liver. The dose of Magnesium should be in the range of 250-500 mg/d along with twice the dose of calcium.
Although some contradictory data exists, the evidence available shows that supplementation with several micronutrients with immune supporting roles can vary immune function and help decrease the risk of infection. Micronutrients that haveh the strongest indications for immune support are Vitamins D and C along with Zinc.
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