Every day, we’re learning more and more about COVID-19 and ways to fight it.
And now there’s exciting news about something for which I’ve long been pounding the table.
It’s a powerhouse nutrient that helps keep us strong… protects against various diseases and conditions (like diabetes)… and may even ward off depression.
It’s a crucial vitamin that I’ve included in my flu-fighting protocol for years.
And now we’ve discovered it may be a critical ally in shielding your health from this deadly coronavirus…
Researchers at Northwestern University looked at COVID-19 patient data from 10 countries. They found a scary link between low vitamin D levels and coronavirus deaths. Patients with very low levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to face severe complications – or die – from the virus. (Though researchers also cautioned that more studies are needed on this front.)
Vitamin D strengthens innate immunity. It also helps prevent an overactive immune response. As my colleague Matthew Makowski wrote last month, one primary cause of COVID-19 complications is a “cytokine storm.” That’s when the immune system overreacts to the virus.
This can cause the immune system to attack itself – like a form of “friendly fire.” But it could end up doing more damage to itself than the virus it’s trying to fight off.
When you put it all together, it helps explain why deaths in nursing homes are so high. (It’s estimated that a third of all COVID-19 deaths are in long-term care facilities.)
Think about it… Folks in nursing homes don’t get much sun exposure. That’s what sparks vitamin D production in your body.
And to make matters worse? A 70-year-old produces vitamin D at about a quarter of the rate a 20-year-old does. So if you’re not getting the right amount of sun exposure on a regular basis, there’s a good chance you could be deficient.
This also explains why COVID-19 is wreaking much more havoc up north than in the south. Those who live above the Mason-Dixon Line are naturally exposed to less sunlight. And so they’re naturally more likely to be deficient in vitamin D.
And on a worldwide scale, the researchers noted that patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as Italy, Spain and the U.K., had lower levels of vitamin D compared with patients in countries that were not as severely affected.
Now, in addition to getting outside, we can boost our vitamin D levels by eating right.
Wild-caught salmon is a great source of vitamin D. It can pack as much as 1,300 international units (IU) per serving.
Cod-liver oil is another great source of vitamin D.
But the simplest way to boost levels of vitamin D is by taking a supplement.
And this stuff is dirt cheap.
For about a nickel a day, you can easily find a vitamin D3 supplement that will help get your levels to where they need to be.
I take a daily dose at night of 3,000 to 5,000 IU. And if I feel an illness coming on, I’ll boost my intake of D3 to 25,000 IU… but for three days only.
Too much vitamin D can cause calcium to build up in the blood and cause nausea and vomiting. And in severe cases, it can cause kidney problems and pain in the bones.
So you don’t want to overdo it.
I strongly recommend folks get their vitamin D levels checked. Ask for a 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) test with your next round of blood work. This simple test will put a definitive number on your vitamin D status.
Ideally, you want to be in the range of 50 to 80 nanograms per milliliter (ng/ml). Research in the American Journal of Public Health found that people with levels below 30 ng/ml were twice as likely to die prematurely.
If you want to give your health a fighting chance against COVID-19, vitamin D3 could be your most powerful natural defense.
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