Congress is getting a lesson on the importance of vitamin D for immune support. U.S. Representative Glenn Grothman (R-WI) introduced House Resolution (H. Res. 116), which recognizes the role vitamin D may play in the fight against COVID-19. Rep Grothman’s interest in raising awareness about the importance of vitamin D is in line with guidelines sent in an open letter from 120 health, science and medical experts from the U.S., U.K., and Europe to world governments in December 2020 (called #VitamindDforall). The signers stated there is “clear evidence that vitamin D reduces COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.”
Resolution Calls for Official Guidance on Vitamin D for COVID-19
Rep. Grothman is encouraging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to issue guidance on vitamin D intake for elderly and immunocompromised individuals during the ongoing pandemic. Rep. Grothman made the following statements and recommendations:
“During the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, the world was in need of a treatment for this virus while we awaited a safe, effective vaccine,” said Grothman. “While we now have vaccines to prevent COVID-19, not everyone has access to them yet, there are two existing COVID variants we know of, and people are still dying from the illness every day.
“We have been told to listen to the science regarding COVID-19 since its inception. Now, 120 doctors from several of the world’s most prestigious medical institutions concur that there is overwhelming evidence that vitamin D can be effective in decreasing the severity of COVID-19, but our government’s top public health agencies still have not pursued this credible lead. The unwillingness of these agencies to investigate this lead has undoubtedly cost many lives. I once again call on the CDC, FDA, and NIH to study the connection between vitamin D deficiencies and COVID-19 and let the public know how this could help them in our fight against the virus, just as they have with other prevention methods during the pandemic.
“If passed, my resolution will unite the voice of the House of Representatives in the search for additional ways to limit the negative effects of COVID-19 and hopefully encourage our public health establishment to issue much-needed guidance as to truly how effective vitamin D can be in preventing serious symptoms, complications, or death from the coronavirus.”
Why is Vitamin D Important to Immune Support?
For many years scientific studies support the belief that vitamin D is essential for immune support. Adequate blood levels of vitamin D are essential for immune health because the nutrient enhances the ability for immune cells (including T cells and macrophages) to protect the body against invading pathogens. Inadequate levels of vitamin D may be connected to increased rates of infections, illness and immune related disorders like autoimmune health issues (read more here).
In recent months, we have learned a great deal about the role of vitamin D and COVID-19. While not a cure, nor a single treatment for the virus, the nutrient may play a role in infection severity. Studies show that the COVID virus contains a spike protein – they are those crazy and menacing looking spikes you see in illustrations of the virus.
Hidden within those spikes are tiny pockets that viral drugs and nutrients like linoelic acid, vitamin D, vitamin A and vitamin K (all immune, circulatory and lung health supporters) that nestle down into the pocket and fend off the virus. This new research suggests that when people have adequate levels of these and other nutrients in their body, they are less likely to get a severe reaction to the virus.
Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?
Studies show that many as 18 – 40% of the general population is deficient in vitamin D. Here are other statistics regarding deficiencies:
- According to CDC data, up to 80% of Latinos and Blacks may be deficient in vitamin D.
- 60% of elderly, institutionalized, or hospitalized nursing home residents in the United States are vitamin D deficient.
- Up to 57% of hospitalized patients are also deficient in vitamin D.
It is difficult to get enough Vitamin D from sun and diet for some people depending on where one lives, the time of year it is and access to healthy foods. If you have not been tested to see if you are deficient in vitamin D, we recommend that you do so. Deficiencies may signal known or unknown health issues that should be addressed. It’s a simple blood test that can guide your doctor toward assessing other related health issues. And, vitamin D supplements are very inexpensive. If you would like to find out more about locating a Naturopathic physician in your area who is trained in diet and nutrient deficiencies, please go to our directory, Find Your ND.
This article is sponsored by the Institute for Natural Medicine, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, partnered with the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. INM’s mission is to transform healthcare in America by increasing both public awareness of naturopathic medicine and access to naturopathic doctors for patients. INM believes that naturopathic medicine, with its unique principles and practices, has the potential to reverse the tide of chronic illness that overwhelms existing health care systems and to empower people to achieve and maintain their optimal lifelong health. INM strives to achieve this mission through the following initiatives:
- Education – Reveal the unique benefits and outcomes of naturopathic medicine
- Access – Connect patients to licensed naturopathic doctors
- Research – Expand quality research of this complex and comprehensive system of medicine
INM's team is made up of naturopathic doctors and health journalists.