How to get good levels of vitamin D, the one you need most to strengthen your immune system against coronavirus

In the fight against the coronavirus, anything goes: masks, learning to distinguish symptoms, using hydroalcoholic gels, washing hands often, researching new vaccines and, most importantly, keeping our defenses in perfect condition. And for this, it is essential to have good reserves of Vitamin D. Science has proven: having correct levels of Vitamin D is important because this trace element allows the assembly of molecules that enable defenses to produce mature and functional cells and molecules to make the defense response to pathogenic microorganisms, including SARS-Cov-2, more effective. But do we have all the vitamin D that our immune system needs right now? We tell you everything you need to know about this vitamin, how to get it and how it can help you defend yourself from the coronavirus.

What does vitamin D do and why does your immune system need it?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble micronutrient that is included in countless physiological processes. It is very important in bone metabolism and mineralization of our bones, although it also plays a regulatory role in the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus in the blood, strengthening the immune system and helping to maintain the health of the skin, among other things.

Our body requires vitamin D for various functions: the muscles need it to be able to move and the nerves to transmit messages between the brain and each part of the body. For its part, the immune system uses vitamin D to prepare and fight viruses and bacteria that invade it.

"In addition, it is also present in all cells of the body and some studies indicate that vitamin D may protect against colon cancer and, perhaps, even against prostate cancer and breast cancer. Finally, the presence of Vitamin D is also related to reducing the incidence of autoimmune pathologies ”, explains Dr. Jhoan Silva, medical director of Elma, digital health insurance.


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How we can get what we need: foods with more vitamin D and sun

Vitamin D is obtained through food and sun exposure. "The the amount of vitamin D we get from our diet is often less than recommendedBut exposure to sunlight can make up the difference, ”says Dr. Jhoan Silva.

To achieve normal levels of vitamin D, we must include in our diet foods rich in this micronutrient such as fatty fish (salmon, tuna, bonito, sardines, anchovies, etc) and other foods such as liver (patés, foie gras, etc), eggs, cereals or yogurt.

Sunbathing for 15-30 minutes a day provides us with around 80% of the recommended (active) vitamin D needs, the rest we obtain through food. According to the WHO, in the summer and spring seasons, it is enough to sunbathe on your arms and face for 10-15 minutes, at least 3 times a week, to have normal vitamin D levels.

It seems easy, but a 2014 Spanish study found that a high percentage of the Spanish population (30 to 80%) had a moderate deficiency of this vitamin and 10% had a severe deficiency. "These data highlight the importance of maintaining the aforementioned indications," advises the expert.

Is it necessary to take a vitamin D supplement to defend against coronavirus?

Little by little we are learning more about the behavior of the coronavirus and how it attacks our body. We now know, for example, that there may be a relationship between having low vitamin D levels and developing the more severe variants of SARS-CoV-2… But from that to asking your doctor for a prophylactic vitamin D supplement, it goes a long way.


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“Several studies, including those carried out by Oxford and the BMJ, report that, after conducting several trials with vitamin D, for now, there is no evidence to recommend its prophylactic or therapeutic use for COVID-19. Beyond this, we must always aim to have vitamin D levels within the normal range, ”says Dr. Jhoan Silva, medical director of Elma, digital health insurance.

Although supplements, a priori, are not necessary, what does not hurt is to check our vitamin D levels once a year through an analysis, especially if we suffer from any of the conditions that predispose those levels to be lower than normal. These “special” conditions include: people with osteoporosis or other bone disease; those who have problems with the absorption of fats in the diet or intestinal malabsorption; patients taking medication that interferes with the synthesis of this vitamin; obese people and the elderly.

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