Why We Must Fight The Vitamin D Deficiency Pandemic
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder
There’s another pandemic we are facing that you may not even be aware of. It is a vitamin D deficiency pandemic.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)), about one billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient, and about 50 percent of the population is vitamin D insufficient.
Also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ (because we get it from the sun’s ultraviolet rays), vitamin D is a critical nutrient for bone and muscle health.
There are not many foods that naturally contain vitamin D. Some products in the grocery store, like orange juice, are often fortified with vitamin D, but you mainly have to depend on the sun in order to get an adequate, natural intake of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is important to our overall health for a number of reasons. In addition to helping the body maintain strong bones by assisting in the absorption of calcium, this nutrient helps our muscles move by encouraging nerves to carry messages between the brain and every body part.
There is also evidence which suggests that having an adequate intake of vitamin D may help protect against acute respiratory infections.
If this all isn’t enough to make you want to step outside and get some sun, a recent study found evidence which suggested that COVID patients admitted to the hospital with a vitamin D deficiency were more likely to die.
"A 3.7-fold increase in death rate if someone's vitamin D level was below 20 [ng/mL] is staggering. It is arguably one of the most important risk factors to consider," said Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, who was referenced in this Medscape report discussing the study.
It is also important to note, “Nearly 60% of patients with COVID-19 were vitamin D deficient upon hospitalization, with men in the advanced stages of COVID-19 pneumonia showing the greatest deficit.”
It is possible that not having adequate vitamin D levels can really impair the immune system and make you more susceptible to complications from COVID-19. These studies are observational and more research is needed, but now that we have this information it would make sense for us all to be proactive and make sure we have enough vitamin D.
So how much vitamin D should we all be getting exactly?
Well, it depends.
Factors such as age, race and ethnicity, gender, nutritional status and whether a person has existing health issues are all things that should be taken into consideration and discussed with a competent healthcare professional.
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are very common in older people, and older people are considered high risk for complications if they contract COVID-19. This is why it is extremely important to take routine nutrient tests in order to definitively determine if you have any nutrient imbalances or deficiencies. If you do, a competent healthcare professional can work with you on diet changes, supplementation if necessary and how to naturally get more vitamin D in your life.
If you are not someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, try to get in the habit of changing this (even if it is just for a few minutes a day). With that said, it is still extremely important to protect yourself properly from the sun in order to help prevent skin cancers. To see general guidelines regarding how much vitamin D you may need according to your age and gender, click here.
It’s also important to acknowledge other nutrients, such as vitamin C, that are crucial for protecting our immune health and helping prevent and fight COVID-19.
Check out this pH Labs blog on what you can do to help keep your immune system in top shape.
Be healthy. Be safe.
Enjoy your healthy life!
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or another competent healthcare practitioner to get specific medical advice for your situation.
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.