Vitamin D and You

— Written By and last updated by Nancie Mandeville
en Español

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food items that contain vitamin d

Recently, we learned that researchers have discovered that people with lower levels of vitamin D have higher mortality rates from COVID-19. According to researchers at Northwestern University, data collected from hospitals and clinics across China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, indicated that countries with high mortality rates such as Spain, Italy, and the United Kingdom had lower levels of vitamin D. Darker skin tones also have lower levels of vitamin D.

Currently, there are 8 studies listed on clinicaltrials.gov, that are researching the impact of vitamin D on the prevention of COVID-19 and increased survival rates of those who contract the disease. Although studies are underway, there is no scientific proof that vitamin D can prevent COVID-19 or lessen the symptoms. Many people have begun to take vitamin D as a precaution. Medical professionals warn not to overload on vitamin D. Large doses can be harmful.

 The Institute of Medicine makes the following recommendations for vitamin D.

  • Children under 1 year of age take in 400 international units(IUs) daily.
  • People ages 1 to 70 take in 600 IU’s daily.
  • People over 70 should get 800 IU’s a day.

Vitamin D can be achieved in our bodies naturally through sunshine. When the sun shines on our skin, it turns a chemical found in our skin, 7-dehydrocholesterol, into vitamin D3, this is carried to our liver and then kidneys to form active vitamin D. According to Dr. Michael Holick, professor of medicine, physiology, and biophysics at Boston University, 10-15 minutes of unprotected sun several times a week is sufficient. Sunscreen should be applied after 15 mins. to prevent burning.

Vitamin D is also present in some foods for example cooked salmon, rainbow trout, and milk that has been fortified with vitamin D. If you choose to take supplements, consult with your doctor prior to doing so, and do not take over the recommended daily amount