Vitamin D deficiency is a global epidemic and has been linked to chronic conditions, with studies finding a higher prevalence of these conditions in those who are deficient in vitamin D.
Previous research has also shown vitamin D supplementation helps reduce the risk of influenza. Viral infections frequently occur in the winter when vitamin D levels are the lowest and supplementation is often required to reach normal concentrations.
According to a report just published last week in Nutrients, researchers retrospectively investigated the vitamin D concentrations in patients with SARS-CoV-2 compared to patients without the infection. Patients’ responses to the virus have ranged from no clinical symptoms to requiring medical attention, and even included death.
This report included 107 patients in Switzerland with an average age of 73 who had a positive nasopharyngeal swab for the virus as well as a vitamin D assessment between March 1st and April 14th. Vitamin D testing was taken within 3 days after testing positive for the virus. This report demonstrated that vitamin D levels were significantly lower in patients who tested positive for the virus at an average of 11.1 ng/mL compared to 24.6 ng/mL in those testing negative. Although this is a relatively small cohort, the research is strong, as patients who tested negative had symptoms and a risk for infection (as they were candidates for testing). The differences in vitamin D concentrations were clinically significant in individuals over 70 years of age, the population at greatest risk of complications of the virus.
For individuals at risk of acute respiratory tract infections the research team suggested supplementing with 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily for several weeks to increase vitamin D levels and then decrease to 5,000 IU per day. The target vitamin D concentration should be between 40 ng/mL to 60 ng/mL.
Maintaining healthy vitamin D status, which can be achieved through cost-effective supplementation, may help reduce the risk of some respiratory tract and viral infections, and can reduce health care costs. It is essential to use a vitamin D supplement that includes vitamin K or provide a separate vitamin K supplement, as there are intricate relationships between fat-soluble vitamins which are important take into account when dosing vitamin D. Furthermore, magnesium helps to activate vitamin D, so magnesium supplementation may also be considered.
By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS