Does Vitamin D Help Reduce Your Risk Of Coronavirus (COVID-19)? - Save Our Bones

Vitamin D is an essential part of our body's immune function, which makes it a critical resource during the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, it's essential for your bones and overall health, but if you haven't ensured you're getting enough of this vitamin every day, here is an additional voice advocating you take this step.

The former chief of the CDC, Dr. Tom Frieden, has recommended that people make sure they're supplementing with Vitamin D3 each day, because its immune protections may help reduce the risk of coronavirus.

Today we'll have a look at the science behind this statement. While Vitamin D3 doesn't have the potential to cure COVID-19 or to guarantee you won't contract it, there is plenty of reason to supplement this bone-building vitamin to help bolster your body's ability to ward off the virus.

What Vitamin D Can Do

It's rare for a mainstream doctor to tout the benefits of a vitamin or any alternative treatment method, but Dr. Frieden has stepped up in this time of need to provide the public with important information.

The former CDC chief offered valuable insights into the benefits of Vitamin D3 — and the immediate need for supplementation — in an editorial published on March 24th. Here's an excerpt of that editorial:

“Vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of respiratory infection, regulates cytokine production and can limit the risk of other viruses such as influenza. A respiratory infection can result in cytokine storms – a vicious cycle in which our inflammatory cells damage organs throughout the body – which increase mortality for those with COVID-19. Adequate Vitamin D may potentially provide some modest protection for vulnerable populations.

This is especially important for people who are Vitamin D deficient – and, surprisingly, that might include more than 40 percent of US adults. People who live in the northern part of the U.S. are at greater risk of deficiency.

There is evidence of seasonality in some respiratory illnesses, including influenza and tuberculosis. A leading hypothesis is that seasonality is due to the reduction in Vitamin D because of decreased exposure to sunlight in winter months.”1

There is a large body of scientific evidence that bears out this theory and demonstrates the benefits Dr. Friedan mentions in his editorial.

Synopsis

Former CDC chief Dr. Tom Friedan has broken with mainstream medicine's resistance to alternative treatments, embracing the science that shows how Vitamin D3 reduces the risk of respiratory infection and viral infection. That makes supplementing critically important, especially in people who are Vitamin D deficient — which includes more than 40% of US adults.

Studies Of Vitamin D3 And The Immune System

The assertions of Dr. Friedan are backed up by a great many studies that provide specific evidence of the benefits of Vitamin D3 supplementation. The following studies and their effects have a direct bearing on maintaining your health during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Viral infections — A 2019 study looked at the relationship between vitamin D deficiency and viral disease development in prior studies. It notes the induction of an antiviral state as part of the complex interplay between viral infections and Vitamin D3, and the growing interest in the power of Vitamin D3 to combat viral infections.2
  • Community pneumonia — Another recent study conducted a meta-analysis of the scientific literature on the relationship between Vitamin D3 deficiency and community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). They found a clear association between Vitamin D3 deficiency and CAP patients. COVID-19 infections in many patients can result in pneumonia, so reducing it by preventing Vitamin D3 deficiency is especially important right now. 3
  • Respiratory tract infections A study titled “Vitamin D for prevention of respiratory tract infections: A systematic review and meta-analysis” looked at five randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials. The researchers found that events of respiratory tract infections (such as influenza, pneumonia, common cold, etc.) were significantly lower in groups that supplemented with Vitamin D. 4
  • Regulation of cytokine patterns — Dr. Friedan noted the importance of cytokine regulation to prevent COVID-19 from creating a cytokine storm that can destroy the body's organs and lead to death. A 2015 study published in the medical journal Plos One found that Vitamin D3 plays a novel role in regulating immune responses in humans, in particular on the secretion of cytokines. This suggests that Vitamin D3 deficiency leaves the immune system unable to adequately regulate cytokines to prevent cytokine storms and organ failure. 5
  • Seasonal influenza — A 2010 study conducted a winter-long randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial comparing Vitamin D3 supplementation with placebo in schoolchildren. They found that Vitamin D3 supplementation reduced the incidence of influenza. This outcome shows the immune-boosting and anti-viral properties of Vitamin D3.6

Synopsis

Studies have found that Vitamin D3 supplementation has a positive impact on the human immune system, conferring benefits such as reducing the risk of viral infection, reducing the risk of pneumonia, regulating cytokine patterns, and reducing the risk of seasonal influenza.

Your Bones Need Vitamin D3

As Savers know well, Vitamin D3 is also critical for the healthy development of strong, high-quality bones. Here are a few of its bone-health benefits:

  • Vitamin D3 reduces chronic pain and muscle weakness, which helps protect against falls and fractures.7
  • Vitamin D3 has a positive effect on mood, reducing the symptoms of depression, and helping you to stay actively and positively engaged in the pursuit of bone-health.8
  • In conjunction with regular exercise, Vitamin D3 has been shown to lower blood sugar levels. That's important for bone health because high blood sugar levels damage bones.9
  • Vitamin D3 improves your vision, which helps you to prevent fracture by increasing awareness of your surroundings to reduce trips and falls.10
  • Vitamin D3 helps prevent unhealthy weight gain. Excessive weight has a negative impact on the strength and quality of your bones.11
  • Vitamin D3 regulates your body's ability to absorb calcium, and to mineralize the collagen matrix in bone. Those are two foundational actions that are absolutely necessary for your body to create new bone.12

It's important to note the difference between Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2. Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, is very difficult for your body to absorb and convert into calcitriol, the bioactivated form that the body uses. Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, is the only form of Vitamin D that you should take. It is readily absorbable and convertible into calcitriol, which provides the benefits described above.

Vitamin D3 is a Foundation Supplement. The Save Institute recommends taking 2000 IUs daily, especially if it's winter where you are, or if you're remaining inside due TO COVID-19. If you're getting plenty of sun, 2000 IUs daily is still safe, because your body won't overproduce the vitamin if you have enough in your system already.13 Because Vitamin D is fat-soluble, its bio-availability is greatly increased when taken with a source of healthy fats, like avocado, almonds, or eggs.

Synopsis

Vitamin D3 is essential for bone health via many different positive effects. It supports muscle strength and vision to reduce the risk of falls. It helps prevent excessive weight gain and high blood sugar — both of which damage bones. Most importantly, it facilitates the absorption of calcium and the creation of bone matrix. Take 2000 IUs of Vitamin D3 (never Vitamin D2) daily.

What This Means To You

Vitamin D3 is essential for the health of your bones. It is also essential for your overall health, and your body's ability to prevent and fight viral infections. While it doesn't offer a miracle in the fight against COVID-19, it appears likely that it can provide another line of defense against the virus.

We will need to use every resource available, from supplements to social distancing, to defeat this virus. By taking care of ourselves and each other we will make it through!

References

1 https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/former-cdc-chief-tom-frieden-coronavirus-risk-may-be-reduced-with-vitamin-d

2 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30614127

3 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31567995

4 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3543548/

5 https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0130395

6 https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/91/5/1255/4597253

7 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15113819

8 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9539254

9 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241902/

10 http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/fullarticle/427167

11 http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/jwh.2012.3506?journalCode=

12 http://www.nature.com/nrc/journal/v14/n5/full/nrc3691.html

13 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Hester G

    Hi Vivian – Excellent article on vitamin D.
    Thank you so much.
    Hester

  2. Shirley Ann

    Hi Vivian,
    My Doctor here in the UK prescribed for me Adcal-D3 750 mg caplets. (Kyowa Kirin Ltd) two twice daily. Also, Alendronic acid 70mg tablets taking one weekly, I have refused to take these, however, would like to try D3 along with the K2.
    I would appreciate your advice to which D3 tablets and K2 would be the most beneficial and safe. Many thanks.
    Kind regards.

    Thank you.

  3. Nathalie

    Thank you so much for great information very helpful

  4. Rolando Ormita

    Mam,Vivian,
    Thank you for this vital info regarding vitamin D3,which I never heard before.Which I’m gonna try in this time of pandemic and also for my bones.
    God bless !!!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I’m glad to be of help, Rolando! You’re very welcome 🙂

  5. Likeleli

    Dear Vivian,

    I’ve been on B-CAL-DM for about a year now, as per doctor’s prescription. Each tablet contains Elemental Calcium, Vitamin D3, and Elemental Magnesium. Prescription is one tablet daily.

    Does B-CAL-DM probably have the same benefits as Vitamin D3? Please advice.

    Kind regards

    Likeleli

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I checked the supplement you mention, and it contains only 400 IUs of Vitamin D3. You could add D3 so you’ll get closer to 2000 IUs. Stay healthy, Likeleli!

  6. Sharon Marcus

    I am taking Boniva now as of today April 12 I will not take it no more it makes me feel very bad my doctor won’t be much against it but I don’t feel it is the right medicine for me because I have Crohn’s disease and a diabetic and I have a long QT syndromeThat is enough medication and problems for me thank you so much for all the advice I will be following

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      I wish you a quick recovery from Boniva’s side effects, Sharon. You should feel proud of your decision to go the natural way to improve your bone health!

  7. Sandra

    Contrary to what you say excessive amounts of Vitamin D3 does cause kidney stones & Hypercalcemia according to World wide studies and can therefore do as much harm as good and high doses that is suggested above over time is definitely not recommended

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Anything in excess is detrimental to our health, Sandra. In my reply to Ann, the study quote explains that taking Vitamin D so that serum levels remain between 40 and 50 ng/ml does not pose a risk for kidney stones. The study linked below confirms the desirable range as well as the necessity to take at least 1000 IU daily to reach the 30 ng/ml level. So 2000 IU daily can help to achieve the higher desirable range:

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18348447

  8. Elsha

    Hello Vivian,
    First, thank-you so much for the valuable health information you share so faithfully!
    I am also supplementing with vitamin K2 (mk 4 and mk 7) as I have read how crucial it is to take this along with vitamin D3 also to prevent the kidney stone issue yet I do not see this reflected at all in your article. What are your thoughts on this please?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Elsha, Vitamin K2 is one of our Foundation Supplements, and Savers should take it every day, along with Vitamin D3. That’s because the latter regulates calcium absorption and Vitamin K2 controls its deposition. And I thank you for being a member of the Saver community!

  9. Ginger McConnell

    At one time you gave a link to a bone supplement called TrueOsteo. Do you still give it your approval?

  10. Marlene Villar

    Hello Vivian,

    Thank you very much.

    Have a wonderful day.
    Marlene

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Hi Marlene, you’re very welcome!

  11. Ann

    Hi Vivian,

    My oncologist warned me about taking too much Vitamin D3. I am taking 1000 IUs a day. He told me that if I take more than that I could cause myself a problem, like developing kidney stones. Lord knows that I do not want that. Do you think it would be safe maybe to take an extra 1000 IUs every other day?

    Thank you.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Ann, studies have shown no correlation between taking Vitamin D and kidney stones. Here’s one study that you can read and show to your doctor:

      https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131017173352.htm

      Here’s an excerpt from the above study:

      “Mounting evidence indicates that a Vitamin D serum level in the therapeutic range of 40 to 50 ng/mL is needed for a substantial reduction in risk of many diseases, including breast and colorectal cancer… Our results may lessen concerns by individuals about taking vitamin D supplements, as no link was shown between such supplementation and an increased risk for kidney stones.”

      In case your doctor told you that because you might have a condition that could cause the kidney stones, discuss it with him or her before you increase the dosage.

      Stay healthy and positive!

  12. Robin

    I consistently get a rapid heart rate when I take D3. So…I hesitate to take it.

  13. Ita

    Thank you , Ita.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re very welcome, Ita!

  14. Tracy Claydon

    Hi Vivian
    I know this sounds crazy but on the 24 Dec 19 I had a dream which clearly revealed that Covid19 hates the light. I now know that the sunlight produces Vit D3 which assists in the prevention of respiratory tract infection. CoVid19 targets our lungs causing pneumonia if it can. I honestly believe, based on this dream that we need to build up our Vit D3 by sitting daily in the Son, sorry Sun.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Tracy, in an ideal world, that would be the case… but we don’t always have the opportunity to sit out in the sun. That’s why supplements are important.

  15. Skdoolittlegirl

    Vivian, thanks so much for this very timely information! As usual, you supply so much needed information for us and with perfect timing!! I’ll increase my dosage of Vit. D3 immediately!! Bless you!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      It’s my pleasure! Stay healthy and safe 🙂

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