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How Vitamin D Helps Fight COVID-19 - Grassroots Health Oct 2020

Part 1 Oct 2, 2020


Vitamin D deficiency has now been shown to increase susceptibility to COVID-19 and increase the risk of COVID-19 severity, including ICU admission and death. Conversely, other published studies have also shown those with higher vitamin D levels (over 30 ng/ml or 75 nmol/L) have a reduced risk of severe symptoms and death due to COVID-19. In fact, an analysis of over 190,000 Americans found that having vitamin D levels of at least 50 ng/ml resulted in a 53% lower positivity rate than those whose levels were less than 20 ng/ml! The first-published randomized controlled trial on vitamin D and COVID-19 found that adding vitamin D to the standard treatment nearly eliminated ICU admissions and did eliminate deaths.
 
It sounds almost too good to be true... Yet vitamin D is known to influence the expression of thousands of genes and is involved in regulating over 80 biological pathways in the body. Vitamin D is not a miracle drug, nor does it act alone, but it is an important mediator of immune function, and we can largely control whether or not we get enough vitamin D from our daily habits (sun, diet and supplements). 
 
Today we will explain HOW vitamin D acts to protect you from getting COVID-19, and in an upcoming Part 2, we will discuss how vitamin D helps improve symptoms if you do get COVID-19. 

 


Vitamin D is Known to Help Prevent Upper Respiratory Tract Infections

 


Vitamin D is known to help fight upper respiratory tract infections. As previously discussed, a large meta-analysis including 25 randomized controlled trials with over 11,300 individuals showed that vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of respiratory tract infections by 70%. GrassrootsHealth participants with vitamin D levels greater than or equal to 40 ng/mL were 41% less likely to have had the flu and 15% less likely to have had a cold in the prior 6 months than participants with levels less than 20 ng/mL.  
 
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a major complication and cause of death among those with serious COVID-19 infections. When comparing vitamin D levels among those with and at risk of ARDS, one study found that 96% of those at risk of ARDS were deficient in vitamin D.

 


Vitamin D Can Protect Lung Cells from SARS-CoV-2 Attack

 


COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus (a specific type of virus) called SARS-CoV-2. Infection of COVID-19 begins when the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters the cells of the lung by binding the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE-2) receptor and de-activating it, resulting in inflammation. Vitamin D is responsible for increasing ACE-2 expression, which allows it to carry out its anti-inflammatory actions to help protect the lungs and keep inflammation at bay. 
 
During the early incubation stage when the virus is hijacking the cell there are generally no symptoms. Most people who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 experience mild-moderate respiratory symptoms and recover without any need for hospitalization or therapy. In those who do experience more severe symptoms, only a small percentage have severe enough symptoms for the virus to be life threatening. This difference in both susceptibility (whether the virus is able to invade) and recovery (how well the body fights it off if it does invade) is attributed to the individual’s immune response. Vitamin D may help protect against COVID-19 specifically through maintenance of physical barriers (susceptibility) and regulation of innate and adaptive immunity (mounting an effective immune response to the virus). 
 
The graphic below provides a very clear illustration of several ways vitamin D acts to directly protect the lungs, from its effect on the protective barrier of the lungs, to its involvement in the maturation of immune cells, and its role in regulating the inflammatory response and inhibiting the cytokine storm (which will be covered in more detail in Part 2).

 


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Vitamin D Regulates the Immune Response

 


Vitamin D plays a crucial role in regulating immune system activity – both innate and adaptive responses. As previously described, the innate immune system is responsible for the initial defensive front with a central role played by phagocytes. Vitamin D stimulates expansion of these phagocytes (monocytes and macrophages) increasing their ability to fight off the virus by increasing their numbers, as well as increasing their killing capacity through stimulating the production of the anti-viral protein cathelicidin. Vitamin D also acts to regulate the maturation of dendritic cells which are important for activating CD4+ T cells and in turn the rest of the immune response.
 
Earlier studies have shown that in SARS and influenza the adaptive immune cells, T cells and B cells, are vital in defending the body against the virus. Many studies have found this to be the case in COVID-19 as well, with both antibody and cellular defenses being recruited to the fight. Vitamin D is a potent regulator of adaptive immunity, including both cell-mediated (T cell) and humoral (B cell) immunity

 


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Cox R and Brokstad K, Nature Reviews, 2020.
Click to Download & Print

 


Once SARS-CoV-2 has been successful at replicating itself and spreading to surrounding cells, mild to moderate symptoms progress (e.g. sore throat, cough, fever and muscle aches) that result from localized and appropriate inflammation, associated tissue damage and antiviral activity of B cells and T cells. CD4+ and CD8+ T cells secrete cytokines (chemical signals that instruct other cells what to do) and are central to the successful elimination of COVID-19, as happens in most people. Unfortunately, more serious symptoms and death can result with an over-reactive or ineffective immune response, as can happen when there is not enough vitamin D for use. The role of vitamin D at this stage will be covered in Part 2.
 
Thus, vitamin D is important to help fend off an attack by SARS-CoV-2. Ensuring optimal levels of vitamin D is an easy way to help support your immune system response.

 


Better Results when Taken Together

 


Nutrients work synergistically in order to carry out specific functions within the body. For example, we have recently discussed how different immune cells rely on a variety of nutrients, including vitamins D, C, B6, B12, zinc, and magnesium, in order to carry out their actions in an immune response. Without these necessary nutrients, immune function may be hindered.
 
Could a nutrient deficiency be putting a damper on your immune response? Find out by testing your vitamin D, omega-3s, magnesium and other essential elements (including selenium), as well as your inflammation levels, with the new Immune Boost home test kit offered by GrassrootsHealth. Measuring levels is the only way to know if you are supporting your immune system and whether additional changes should be made, with supplementation, dietary changes, or both.


Part 2 Oct 9, 2020


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Vitamin D is used by every cell of the body, influences the expression of thousands of genes, and is involved in regulating over 80 biological pathways – importantly, vitamin D is a potent regulator of immune function. However, it may still be surprising how much one vitamin can influence the body’s response to a COVID-19 infection. Vitamin D deficiency has now been shown to increase susceptibility to COVID-19 and increase the risk that if you do have COVID-19, it will be severe enough to require hospitalization in the ICU and lead to death. Conversely, published studies have also shown reduced risk of severe symptoms and death due to COVID-19 with higher vitamin D levels (over 30 ng/mL). In fact, an analysis of over 190,000 Americans found that having a vitamin D level of at least 50 ng/ml resulted in a 53% lower positivity rate for SARS-CoV-2 infection than those with levels less than 20 ng/ml! The first-published randomized controlled trial on vitamin D and COVID-19 found that adding vitamin D to the standard treatment nearly eliminated ICU admissions and did eliminate deaths

In Part 1 we reviewed how vitamin D acts to protect against COVID-19. Today we will describe how vitamin D influences the immune system in ways that are beneficial, such as preventing the hyper-inflammatory response characteristic of severe COVID-19 infection. 


Vitamin D Regulates the Immune Response

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in regulating immune system activity – both innate and adaptive responses. As described in Part 1, vitamin D increases the innate immune response and may help reduce entry of SARS-CoV-2 into cells in the lung and reinforce the physical barriers, or junctions, between cells, which in turn may help prevent the spread of the virus between cells. Vitamin D also stimulates expansion of phagocytes (monocytes and macrophages) increasing their ability to fight off the virus by numbers. In addition, vitamin D directly stimulates phagocytes and lung cells to produce anti-viral proteins, cathelicidin and defensins, that kill the virus. However, an appropriate adaptive immune response is a vital part of the body’s defense against SARS-CoV-2. Vitamin D is a potent regulator of adaptive immunity, including both cell-mediated (T cell) and humoral (B cell) immunity. Vitamin D is needed by these white blood cells to help them recognize, bind to, and destroy SARS-CoV-2.

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Click to Enlarge & Print

What Causes A Severe SARS-CoV-2 Infection?

Once SARS-CoV-2 has been successful at replicating itself and spreading to surrounding cells, mild to moderate symptoms progress (e.g. sore throat, cough, fever and muscle aches) as part of a normal immune response to the virus. CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses including secreted inflammatory cytokines are central to the successful elimination of COVID-19, as happens in most people.
 
However, in some people the immune response goes awry at this point and generates a hyper-inflammatory state referred to as the “cytokine storm” as depicted in the diagram below. The cytokine storm is the leading theory that explains why some people have a severe reaction to coronaviruses while others only experience mild symptoms. Moderate levels of inflammation are associated with mild-moderate symptoms of COVID-19, whereas the cytokine storm generates a hyper-inflammatory state associated with severe COVID-19 symptoms.

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Click to Enlarge & Print

The cytokine storm results from a sudden acute increase in circulating levels of different pro-inflammatory cytokines including IL-6, IL-1, TNF- a, and interferon produced mostly by T cells. These inflammatory cytokines, in addition to the ongoing replication and spread of the virus, trigger more immune cell involvement and tissue damage that leads to acute respiratory distress, multiple organ failure and possibly death. By dampening the cytokine storm, we can reduce the severity of symptoms and the risk of death.

Vitamin D Helps Control the Cytokine Storm and Reduce Symptom Severity

Vitamin D acts in many ways to regulate the adaptive immune response. Vitamin D stimulates CD4+ T cell proliferation and cytokine production, and antibody activity (B cells). Vitamin D acts to regulate T cell response through initiating dendritic cell tolerance. These dendritic cells in turn stimulate the increased production of T regulatory (Treg) cells and their production of anti-inflammatory interleukin (IL)-10, switching the response from being Th1-driven and pro-inflammatory to a Th2-driven anti-inflammatory response.
 
Vitamin D acts to suppress the production of inflammatory cytokines (such as IL-1, IL-6 and IFN which are predominant in the cytokine storm characteristic of severe COVID-19). Vitamin D also has an effect on the actions of B-cells and inhibits the production of antibodies. Overall, the immunomodulatory actions of vitamin D play a very important role in preventing the activation of an inappropriate hyper-inflammatory immune response.
 
Because the virus also binds ACE-2 receptors it interrupts the renin-angiotensin system, responsible for regulating blood volume, a pathway that is also regulated by vitamin D. Ensuring sufficient vitamin D may improve response to the virus in the lungs and lessen the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on reduced levels of surfactant (a liquid secretion that allows the lungs to open and fill with air) which may then reduce the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the ability to breathe.
 
Thus, vitamin D is important to help regulate the immune response to a SARS-CoV-2 infection. Ensuring optimal levels of vitamin D is a safe and easy way to help support your immune response.

Do you know your vitamin D level?

Measure your vitamin D level today! When you know what your level is, you can determine next steps to take and how much supplementation may be needed if you are below your target level. A panel of 48 International Vitamin D scientists recommend a level between 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L) - where are you?

See also in VitaminDWiki

COVID-19 news
COVID-19 and Dark Skins
COVID-19 treated by Vitamin D - studies, reports, videos
As of Oct 20, 2021, the page had:  34 trials 6 trial results,   27 meta-analyses and reviews,   64 observations,   35 recommendations,   55 associations,  89 speculations,  48 videos   see related:   Governments,   HealthProblems,   Hospitals,  Dark Skins,   26 risk factors are ALL associated with low Vit D,   Recent Virus pages   Fight COVID-19 with 50K Vit D weekly   Vaccines
and has the following recent updates

Top Vitamin D and COVID-19 recent updates

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Many clinical trials are underway which are testing Vitamin D to fight COVID-19

COVID-19 RCTs


50 most-recently changed items in Virus Category in VitaminDWiki

Id Page Hits Last modification Creator Categories
5894 Vitamin D and the anti-viral state – March 2010 4149
22 Oct, 2021 16:51
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13013 COVID-19 and Influenza patients needing ventilation had low Vitamin D – Oct 2021 29
22 Oct, 2021 16:49
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9072 Flu 15470
22 Oct, 2021 16:47
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13010 COVID winter is coming again- AK, MT, WY, ID, ND cases rising - Oct 20, 2021 78
21 Oct, 2021 13:32
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11728 COVID-19 treated by Vitamin D - studies, reports, videos 60910
20 Oct, 2021 16:27
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13007 COVID-19 severity associated with 3 vitamin D genes – Oct 2021 207
20 Oct, 2021 16:15
admin Genetics
Vitamin D Receptor
Vit D Binding Protein
Virus
12906 Vitamin D might augment COVID-19 vaccines – 4 papers as of Sept 2021 358
20 Oct, 2021 01:32
admin Virus
12416 COVID-19 prognostic indicators in plasma extrapolate to zero if Vitamin D is 40 to 80 ng – March 2021 741
19 Oct, 2021 15:50
admin Virus
12935 COVID-19 mortality extrapolates to zero at 50 ng of vitamin D – 18th Meta-analysis Sept 2021 619
19 Oct, 2021 15:48
admin Mortality and D
Meta-analysis of Vitamin D
Virus
12979 COVID-19 treated by Vitamin D (example: ICU reduced by 5X) – 20th meta-analysis Oct 13, 2021 309
19 Oct, 2021 09:07
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12952 Severe COVID-19 2.5 X more likely if low vitamin D (23 studies) – 19th meta-analysis Oct 2021 523
19 Oct, 2021 08:57
admin Meta-analysis of Vitamin D
Virus
13003 Colin Powell died of COVID-19 (he had 4 risk factors for low vitamin D) – Oct 18, 2021 159
19 Oct, 2021 02:32
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13004 Vitamin D was the only supplement that fought COVID-19 (out of 6) – Oct 2021 117
19 Oct, 2021 02:20
admin Supplement
Virus
12991 Fully Vaccinated Are COVID 'Super-Spreaders,' Says Inventor of mRNA Technology - Oct 13, 2021 151
19 Oct, 2021 01:56
admin Virus
11990 VITAMIN D AND COVID-19: IT IS TIME TO ACT – Oct 4, 2020 952
18 Oct, 2021 16:43
admin Virus
12207 COVID-19 Disease and Vitamin D: A Mini-Review – Dec 15, 2020 810
18 Oct, 2021 01:41
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11884 Russian Hospital observed 5X more likely to have severe COVID-19 if Vitamin D Deficient – Aug 2020 1355
18 Oct, 2021 01:25
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12064 COVID-19 defeated 3x faster by 420,000 IU Vitamin D nanoemulsion – RCT Nov 12, 2020 2142
17 Oct, 2021 22:37
admin Loading dose for Vitamin D
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12999 Poor Vitamin D receptor blocked Vitamin D from fighting avian influenza viruses (in mice) – July 2021 22
17 Oct, 2021 21:45
admin Vitamin D Receptor
Virus
12998 Epstein-Barr is yet another virus that deactivates the Vitamin D receptor (COVID later suspected as well)– 2010 38
17 Oct, 2021 21:43
admin Vitamin D Receptor
Virus
12975 UK COVID-19 increased in early October (too much James Bond or too little sun) – Oct 11, 2021 78
16 Oct, 2021 02:11
admin Vitamin D in Europe
Virus
12951 Increases in COVID-19 are unrelated to levels of vaccination - as of Sept 2021 715
16 Oct, 2021 01:39
admin Virus
12986 Mutated gene, OAS1, which lowers vitamin D in brain, increases Alzheimers and severe COVID-19 – Oct 2021 67
15 Oct, 2021 01:46
admin Cognitive
Virus
12985 High-dose Omega-3 fought COVID in 2 hospital trials (6x reduction in ICU, reduced time) – Masterjohn Oct 2021 65
14 Oct, 2021 23:25
admin Vitamin D and Omega-3
Virus
12981 COVID-19 patients are deficient in both Vitamin D and Vitamin K – Oct 2021 107
14 Oct, 2021 12:09
admin Vitamin D and Vitamin K
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12980 Adverse reactions to 100 Phizer booster vaccinations: 83 pain, 63 fatigue, 48 headache, etc. - Sept 2021 95
13 Oct, 2021 22:09
admin Virus
12978 COVID-19 and Vitamin D (42 studies, consensus) – Oct 2021 171
13 Oct, 2021 16:16
admin Virus
12079 Clinical trials are proving that Vitamin D fights COVID-19 in hospitals 4053
12 Oct, 2021 19:40
admin Virus
11963 Studies on Vitamin D and COVID-19 (11 categories) - Sept 20, 2020 933
12 Oct, 2021 17:53
admin Virus
12949 7 Symptoms predictive of COVID-19 (from 1,000,000 in UK) – Oct 2021 328
11 Oct, 2021 21:42
admin Virus
12933 COVID-19 patients getting 300,000 IU of Vitamin D were 5X less likely to die – Sept 2021 445
11 Oct, 2021 21:39
admin Mortality and D
Virus
12967 COVID 5X more likely if in prison (low Vitamin D, etc) - Oct 2021 68
11 Oct, 2021 16:13
admin Shut-in
Virus
12969 Vitamin D was a top COVID-19 treatment at 4 hospital groups - May 2021 119
10 Oct, 2021 22:49
admin Virus
12579 Treatments for 303,000 COVID-19 patients: vitamin D is both popular and over-the-counter – May 2021 1060
10 Oct, 2021 22:44
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Top news
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12968 COVID-19 and Vitamin D - Wikipedia Oct 10, 2021 205
10 Oct, 2021 22:04
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12910 COVID-19 Vitamin D Clinical Trials - US Sept 15, 2021 135
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12334 26 health factors increase the risk of COVID-19 – all are associated with low vitamin D 2499
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Deficiency of Vitamin D
Cardiovascular
Kidney
Diabetes
Obesity
Cancer
Cystic Fibrosis
High Risk
Hypertension
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1468 Shingles and vitamin D 193578
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12944 Emergency treatments if get COVID-19 symptoms - Oct 2021 393
09 Oct, 2021 18:32
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12956 COVID-19 symptoms and comorbidities associated with the type of Vitamin D Receptor – Oct 2021 207
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Virus
12895 COVID-19 risk reduction by early treatment: 5X Vitamin D – Oct 8, 2021 381
09 Oct, 2021 00:56
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12170 French Consensus – 200,000 IU of Vitamin D if get COVID-19 – Dec 22, 2020 2004
08 Oct, 2021 20:59
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12961 Dr. McCullough on COVID-19: vaccine problems, home treatment – video, slides, transcript – Oct 4, 2021 322
08 Oct, 2021 17:37
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12616 COVID-19 doctors not allowed to use treatments that work - Dr McCullough Video and transcript May 2021 17704
07 Oct, 2021 22:45
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12914 COVID-19: Vitamin D, Melatonin, meditation may be better than Remdesivir etc. - Sept 2021 182
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12960 COVID-19 and Vitamin D – expert consensus and guidelines (Annweiler, behind paywall) – Oct 2021 106
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12259 Ivermectin and COVID-19 5155
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12773 Vaccine effectiveness may drop to only 16% in 6 months if time between jabs was only 3 weeks – July 2021 1128
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12953 Phizer vaccine half as effective as Moderna after 6 months (fading or Delta) - Mayo preprint Aug 2021 101
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12745 How mass vaccination may lead to increased COVID-Delta 550
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