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Can Vitamin D Help Reduce COVID-19 Risks?

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been an increased interest in finding safe ways to boost your immunity and look after your health (with the hopes that it’ll be able to reduce the risk of getting sick or reduce the complications should you get sick). While mask-wearing, good hand-washing hygiene and practicing smart social distancing where possible are the go-to moves for keeping yourself and your family safe, a new study says that making sure your vitamin D levels are where they should be might be connected to better health outcomes in COVID-19 patients.

In a new study published in PLOS One from Boston University’s School of Medicine found that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who were “vitamin D sufficient had a significant decreased risk for adverse clinical outcomes.”

Looking at blood samples from 235 patients and the outcomes from their treatment, the researchers found that patients with blood level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D of at least 30 ng/mL were less likely to experience hypoxia (body starved for oxygen), becoming unconscious or dying from the illness. The researchers noted that in patients older than 40, patients who had these levels of vitamin D were 51.5 percent less likely to die from virus complications.

“This study provides direct evidence that vitamin D sufficiency can reduce the complications, including the cytokine storm (release of too many proteins into the blood too quickly) and ultimately death from COVID-19,” author Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics and molecular medicine said in a statement on Friday.

Holick said he hopes this information plays into strategies for a pandemic-era cold and flu season (which is anticipated to have concerning outcomes for individuals experiencing influenza and COVID-19): “There is great concern that the combination of an influenza infection and a coronal viral infection could substantially increase hospitalizations and death due to complications from these viral infections…Because vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency is so widespread in children and adults in the United States and worldwide, especially in the winter months, it is prudent for everyone to take a vitamin D supplement to reduce risk of being infected and having complications from COVID-19.”

Too much of a good thing? Yeah, that’s still possible

As SheKnows previously reported, you need to be careful when introducing any new supplement into your routine on the regular — and Vitamin D is no exception.

“You can definitely take too much of a supplement,” Kristine Arthur, MD, internist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, CA, told SheKnows. “Vitamin D is an example of this. While vitamin D has many health benefits, it is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning that is stays in the body for much longer than other types of vitamins, so it is possible to take too much.”

While making sure you have the vitamins in your body that it needs, you always want to be mindful of the quantity and the side-effects that come with taking too much. Because high doses of some vitamins can lead to stomach cramping, diarrhea or potentially longterm effects like hardening blood vessels or organ damage.

Before you go, check out our favorite all-natural cold remedies for kids:

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