What's the big deal about Vitamin D?
Vitamin D strengthens innate immunity and prevents overactive immune responses, which may be why researchers are finding Vitamin D helpful in fighting COVID-19.
There is no research, however, that says taking a Vitamin D supplement will make you immune to COVID-19. Continue to practice anti-viral measures like hand washing and social distancing to prevent contracting the virus.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin, but a steroid hormone that affects tissue at a cellular level. We absorb it primarily through sunshine rather than a food source. Because there is a deficit of sunshine in the beautiful PNW where we live, our levels of Vitamin D are often insufficient. That's a shame because, besides aiding your body to fight COVID, healthy levels of Vitamin D are associated with strong bone growth, fewer colds, coughs and flus, improvement in depression and mood disorders, fewer aches, pains and problems with chronic fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, and pregnancy-related pre-eclampsia, as well as helping control blood sugar levels, and the ability to decrease certain kinds of cancer!
How much Vitamin D do you need?
There are virtually no downsides to taking a Vitamin D supplement, and it is hard to overdose on. The answer to how much you should take depends on 5 factors:
1. Your age. 70% of our ability to make Vitamin D in our skin is lost by age 70.
2. Your skin pigment or how easily you tan. Skin with higher levels of melanin doesn't absorb UV rays from the sun as much, so you may need more Vitamin D.
3. The latitude at which you live. The sun's effect is dramatically decreased further from the equator.
4. How often you are outdoors in the sun.
5. Your diet. If you eat an eskimo diet of 40% salmon, then you don't probably don't need a supplement. Otherwise a supplement might be wise.
You can determine your vitamin D levels through a laboratory blood draw. That will give you a better idea of how much to take.
Current suggestions for how much Vitamin D to take in supplement form range from 600 IU per day for young adults and increase to 800 IU as you age closer to 70. However, a supplement with as much as 1000-2000 is not damaging (especially if you are someone who forgets to take your vitamins some days).
Enjoy increased health and happiness with Vitamin D!