Health and science experts plead: Increase vitamin D during the pandemic

We’ve long known that vitamin D helps support a healthy immune system. But now, it’s becoming very clear that it could also be our best natural defense against SARS-Cov-2, the virus behind COVID-19.

120+ health, science and medical experts have signed an open letter to the governments of the world, calling for the “immediate widespread increase” of the consumption of vitamin D.

This international group of respected scientists and researchers is calling on “all governments, doctors and health care workers — worldwide — to immediately recommend and implement efforts appropriate to their adult populations to increase vitamin D, at least until the end of the pandemic.”

And their reasons are very compelling…

An extraordinary call to action

The 120+ scientists who signed this extraordinary call to action come from all parts of the world: the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Asia.

The open letter cites several hundred pieces of research confirming that both the risk of getting a COVID-19 infection and the severity of that infection, is compounded by a deficiency in vitamin D — and that the association is “very likely causal, not just correlation.”

In other words, it’s not just a coincidence that 80 percent of people infected with COVID-19 have low levels of vitamin D. There’s something about the vitamin that actually thwarts the virus.

Related: Why vitamin D keeps taking the spotlight in the pandemic

The letter even goes as far as saying that the pandemic seems to be “sustaining itself in large part through infection of those with low vitamin D, and that deaths are concentrated largely in those with deficiency.”

These scientists also cite evidence that the current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D (600 to 800 IU per day), was incorrectly calculated and is insufficient to prevent a deficiency in most healthy adults.

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What does this mean for you?

Most likely you’re probably not getting enough vitamin D, especially if you’ve been shooting for the current RDA, which is barely enough to keep your bones healthy.

That’s why the international group of scientists is urgently recommending 4000 IU (or at least 2,000) per day for healthy adults who want to stay clear of COVID-19.

That may sound like a lot, but it’s proven quite safe to take 4,000 to 5,000 IU daily. According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin D toxicity, which can cause nausea and vomiting, fatigue, diarrhea and even kidney failure, is rare but has been known to occur at levels of 60,000 IU daily — taken for several months.

And, as these scientists point out in their letter, any risk of toxicity is overshadowed by the threat of coming down with a COVID-19 infection. You can bet they are practicing what they are preaching: The letter shares the personal daily intake of vitamin D for most of the 120 health experts who signed the letter, almost all of whom take between 2000 IU to 10,000 IU per day with an average of 4000 IU/day.

Here are a few tips on increasing your vitamin D intake:

  • Be sure and choose vitamin D3 (as opposed to D2), since it’s the form most easily absorbed by your body.
  • Always take vitamin D supplements along with (or right after) a main meal. It’s a fat-soluble nutrient, so it needs some fat to help it enter your body efficiently.
  • Consider magnesium supplements. Magnesium is a co-factor of Vitamin D, which means each helps the other be absorbed more efficiently.
  • Eat foods rich in vitamin K, vitamin A and zinc, as these also help with vitamin D absorption.
  • For information on any drug or disease interactions with vitamin D3, visit drugs.com. If you’re on medication, including heart medications that affect calcium, or diuretics, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before increasing vitamin D.

Now, once the pandemic is behind us, you may want to continue supplementing higher doses of vitamin D. As our editor, Virginia Tims-Lawson has reported, not only does vitamin D3 increase the level of nitric oxide in your blood to help support healthy blood flow and blood pressure, it also protects against oxidative stress in your cardiovascular system (damage caused by free radicals that accelerates the age of your cells).

Sources:

110-Plus International Experts Release Open Letter: COVID-19 Preys on Those with Vitamin D Deficiency — PRNEWSWIRE.com

Experts send Vitamin D and COVID-19 open letter to world’s governments — Nutraingredients.com

Over 100 Scientists, Doctors, & Leading Authorities Call For Increased Vitamin D Use To Combat COVID-19 — Vitamindforall

A Statistical Error in the Estimation of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin D — Nutrients

Expert reaction to rapid COVID-19 guidance on vitamin D, published by NICE, PHE and SACN — Science Media Centre

Vitamin D3 Interactions — Drugs.com

Joyce Hollman

By Joyce Hollman

Joyce Hollman is a writer based in Kennebunk, Maine, specializing in the medical/healthcare and natural/alternative health space. Health challenges of her own led Joyce on a journey to discover ways to feel better through organic living, utilizing natural health strategies. Now, practicing yoga and meditation, and working towards living in a chemical-free home, her experiences make her the perfect conduit to help others live and feel better naturally.