Vitamin D3 and Covid-19

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We at the Chung Institute of Integrative Medicine have been prescribing Vitamin D3 regularly to our patients for years. As we are learning more about this virus, we believe the time has come to share this recommendation with the general public. We recommend adults take at least 5,000 IU’s (125mcg) of Vitamin D to protect themselves from COVID-19. Hyperlinks are provided by clicking the highlight in parenthesis. Please read them when you get the chance:

 Two recent studies on Vitamin D and Covid-19 outcomes point to Vitamin D deficiency:

  •  One from Indonesia: Patients admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 were 10 times more likely to die if their Vitamin D level was deficient . (i)
  • One from the Philippines: Out of 212 confirmed cases of COVID-19, there was a direct correlation between the severity of the illness and level of deficiency of Vitamin D. Patients with the lowest levels had 19-fold higher chance of severe illness compared with the highest levels.  (ii)

2. Over 1000 research papers showing that Vitamin D is a critical factor in health especially in maintaining health of the immune system. (As Dr. Chung likes to say, “Just do a google scholar search of Vitamin D and any disease”).

Higher risk groups for poor outcome from COVID-19 all have statistically lower vitamin D levels.(*)

  • African Americans have much lower Vitamin D levels.
  •  Age: Vitamin D deficiency is very prevalent people over the age of 65 (2)
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Cross-sectional studies have reported that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased risk of CVD, including hypertension, heart failure, and ischemic heart disease.(3)
  •  Diabetes is associated with lower vitamin D levels. (4)
  • Chronic Respiratory Disease: Patients with chronic lung diseases (asthma, cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive lung disease and interstitial pneumonia) are more likely to have vitamin D deficiency. (5)
  • Cancer patients have lower vitamin D levels. (6)
  • Obesity Americans have lower vitamin D levels.(7)

 In our many years of experience at the Chung Institute of Integrative Medicine, we have seen benefits of supplementing with Vitamin D. These improvements are in both a reduction of symptoms and illnesses.

In summary, Vitamin D3 is an essential hormone manufactured by the skin when it is exposed to adequate amounts of sun light. Light skinned individuals need about 15 minutes of full body exposure.  Dark-skinned individuals need 45minutes of exposure for optimal health.  Most individuals do not get daily sun exposure. Nearly everyone develops lower D levels in winter which is why flu’s and colds occur more in the winter.

Even a healthy balanced American diet does not have enough Vitamin D3. It is mainly available in salmon, sardines, canned tuna, cod liver oil, egg yolks, mushrooms and vitamin fortified food like milk. We do not believe the amounts found in food will increase your Vitamin D level enough. We believe supplementing with Vitamin D3 has the potential to markedly reduce your risk of severe symptoms or death from COVID-19.

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