As the coronavirus pandemic evolves, people are looking for ways to maintain and improve their health. As a result, vitamin D is receiving a lot of attention these days.
Research suggests that healthy vitamin D levels in the body may be able to play a role in combating the severe illness caused by the novel virus. Researchers from several countries noted that the sickest COVID-19 patients often had a vitamin D deficiency. However, the findings are not yet peer-reviewed and clinical trials are underway.
In the meantime, what is vitamin D, and how do we get it? Vitamin D plays a key role in maintaining bone health, regulating metabolism, and it can reduce inflammation. The essential nutrient helps our bodies absorb calcium and helps our immune system function normally. Vitamin D can be found in eggs, milk and yogurt, in fortified orange juice, and in fish like salmon and halibut. It’s also referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because our bodies naturally produce vitamin D when we spend time in the sun.
Most people consume an adequate amount of vitamin D through food, but a deficiency may occur in people who are older, live in highly polluted areas or spend a significant amount of their time indoors. A blood test can determine whether a person has a deficiency, and vitamin D supplements are available for people who need the additional boost.
If you’re curious about your own vitamin D levels, add some fatty fish to your diet and spend more time safely in the sun. But, as always, if you’re concerned or want to learn more about whether you should take supplements, talk to your doctor, who can guide you on what’s best for your health.