Vitamin D belongs to the group of fat-soluble vitamins. It is synthesized in the skin by the action of UV light using endogenous cholesterol. Vitamin D3 is produced in the skin of humans and mammals, and D 2 in plants. We are all used to combining vitamin D as something necessary for healthier bones and joints. That is why we forget that the role of vitamin D in our immune system is extremely important. Studies have shown that 50% of the population has an insufficient concentration of vitamin D, especially during the winter and north of the 35th parallel.
The risk groups in the COVID-19 pandemic have been the elderly and people suffering from several chronic diseases, in addition to which they have a significant deficiency of vitamin D. Studies have shown an association between vitamin D deficiency and the frequency of multiple infections: upper respiratory tract inflammation, ear infections, pneumonia, dengue fever, inflammation caused by enteroviruses, hepatitis B and C, HIV infection. For optimal protection against infections, the concentration of vitamin D in the blood should be between 75 mmol / l to 125 mmol / l. for adults who are at risk, preventive doses of 1500 IU to 2000 IU of vitamin D are recommended (400 IU = 10 micrograms).
Sources of vitamin D
In humans, skin is a major source of vitamin D production and its exposure to sunlight. Natural sources of vitamins in the diet are cod liver oil and other fatty fish: tuna, sardines, mackerel, salmon, seafood, shiitake mushrooms, liver, egg yolk. The problem is that many people avoid these foods in their diet, but in case of need, it is easy to choose the right vitamin supplements in the huge market production and offer. Studies have shown that the addition of vitamin D supplements shows protective properties in respiratory infections. It is suggested to take 25 to 50 micrograms a day without side effects. High vitamin D status can help reduce the risk of viral pandemics. Vitamin D is today a powerful factor in the immune system and its strengthening, which helps with viral respiratory infections, including the SARS-COV-22 virus.
The role of vitamin D
A study was performed in hospitalized patients with covid 19, who had low levels of vitamin D. It has been established that if they receive at least one dose of vitamin D per week of 1000 IU, there may be a reduction in the risk of the need to connect to a respirator and a fatal outcome. The aim of the study was to determine whether the addition of vitamin D, before admission to the hospital of patients with covid 19, would result in less severe diseases. Although they failed to prove a definitive association with severe covid 19 conditions, it became clear that patients with low vitamin D intake should receive supplements. This is necessary not only for bone health but also for stronger protection against severe covid 19. The initiators of the study suggested that clinics introduce the administration of vitamin D to patients with low levels. Existing evidence has indicated the need for further research.
Vitamin D research
Spain was one of the most affected countries in Europe, with the Covid pandemic in 2020. Why did this happen? Because of a large number of immigrants in the cities, apartments in urban settlements small, cramped, and often on several floors; open restaurants and other public places; too late introduction of movement ban and isolation. The results were devastating for the period to the end of May 2020: 232,500 infected with covid; over 26,000 deaths; in the first place in terms of the number of infected health workers, 50,500. One of the good things is that in Spanish hospitals they did vitamin D tests on all patients who were admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis of covid. The result of the research is that 80% of patients have a significant deficiency of vitamin D. With the introduction of increased doses of vitamin D, the condition of one part of the patients significantly improved.
How to prepare for the next pandemic
A new wave of covid pandemics with new strains of the virus is expected in early autumn. There is little research on vitamin D and its effect on respiratory diseases. In general, most research is related to diseases of the skeletal system. Vitamin D is not unreasonably recommended in the treatment or prevention of covid 19. It is important that people are not falsely convinced of the power of vitamin D and miss other precautions. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals should still be eaten; use supplements when there are no suitable foods. The things that will mark this age are for the next period wearing poppies for the face; enhanced hand hygiene; obligatory keeping distance and vaccination of the population against covid 19.