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The power of vitamin D. How the sunshine vitamin boosts your immunity.

As people search for ways to protect themselves from the coronavirus, there is growing evidence that vitamin D could help protect you against COVID-19.

Research shows immune-boosting vitamin D may play a role in preventing acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a common killer in COVID-19 patients.

Before you run out to the nearest pharmacy or nutrition store to stock up on supplements, there are some things to consider first.

What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It also plays an important role in helping immune systems function. Low levels of vitamin D can lead to autoimmune problems — when the immune system attacks healthy cells — and increase the chance of infection.

It is called the “sunshine vitamin” because the primary and most accessible source of vitamin D is the sun. Ultraviolet rays from the sun trigger vitamin D synthesis.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include frequent illness or infection, slow wound healing, fatigue, bone and back pain, hair loss, muscle pain, and depression.

An estimated 40 percent of adults in the United States may be deficient in vitamin D. Age and genetic background can play a part in how much vitamin D is present in your body.

Seventy-nine percent of African Americans are vitamin D deficient — nearly double the national average. The reason? People with darker skin pigmentation have more melanin, which reduces the body’s ability to produce vitamin D. We also become deficient as we age. Our thinning skin is less efficient at making vitamin D.

Vitamin D and COVID-19

Vitamin D deficiencies have long been associated with an increase in respiratory infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis, and bronchitis.

Now, a new study highlights the vital role of vitamin D in fighting off respiratory infection, including COVID-19. They stress that a deficiency in vitamin D can be a factor in one’s deteriorating condition, should they contract COVID-19.

The study claims to find evidence that vitamin D prevents respiratory infections, especially in older adults whose vitamin D levels are low. Although its specific role in coronavirus infections is still unknown, researchers vouch for its effectiveness in boosting the immune system.

The study also displayed that patients with vitamin D deficiency and those not receiving the correct dose encountered the most benefit from supplementation.

This could be beneficial information for a large number of people, including African-American adults who are generally at greater risk for a number of chronic and potentially life-shortening conditions such as hypertension, stroke, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and all-cause mortality, some of which is associated with vitamin D deficiency.

How can you boost your vitamin D intake?

The first and best way to boost your vitamin D is to get outside in the sun. Research shows the best time to get vitamin D from sunlight is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the spring, summer, and fall. Vitamin D produced in the skin may last at least twice as long in the blood compared with other forms of supplementation.

You can also build up your vitamin D levels through certain foods. The National Institutes of Health recommends eating foods naturally rich in vitamin D. These foods include egg yolks and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, as well as beef liver and cheese.

Vitamin D is also added to milk and some breakfast cereals, orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and soy beverages. It is best to check the labels to confirm.

Of course, you can also take vitamin D supplements. It comes in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 comes from plant sources and fortified foods, while vitamin D3 comes from animal sources. The recommended daily dose for adults aged 19–70 is 15 mcg (600 IU), according to the National Institutes of Health.

It is important to take the recommended daily allowance because it is possible to overdose on vitamin D.

Get tested

The only way to know if your level of vitamin D is low is to get tested. Vitamin D testing is offered at Any Lab Test Now.  No fasting is required, and you do not need to visit your doctor first to get the test done. Test results generally take between 24 to 72 business hours.

Click here to learn more about Any Lab Test Now’s Vitamin D Testing

Be at ease

At Any Lab Test Now, we understand that people may have concerns about going to a healthcare facility during the coronavirus outbreak. You can be at ease knowing that we are providing you a safe and clean location for your lab work. Each of our 185+ stores are sanitized several times a day, in accordance with the CDC’s protocols. When you get your test results, you can easily make a telemedicine appointment with your physician and share the details. Any Lab Test Now is a committed partner in helping you to make educated healthcare decisions that can benefit your quality of life.

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Presumptive Evidence of Immunity – Why It Is Important To You

So what is “presumptive evidence of immunity” and why should you care about it? In honor of National Immunization Awareness Month, Any Lab Test Now wants you to take a moment to think about measles, mumps, and rubella (also known as German measles). These aren’t diseases that too many of us spend time thinking about because we were most likely immunized against them when we were very little.

But how do you know that an immunization is still effective when you received it so long ago that you can’t even remember it? The CDC recommends that children get two doses of the MMR vaccine with the first dose starting at age 12 to 15 months. The second dose is usually given between the ages of 4 through 6. For most of us, that’s a pretty long time ago! If you received the shot as a child and you still have proof of it, you have “presumptive evidence of immunity.”

That’s not good enough for some people. Some people in high-risk situations may want more concrete evidence. Any Lab Test Now offers you a way to see if your vaccine is still protecting you — keeping you from worrying or from receiving an unnecessary shot. It’s called MMR Titer Testing. Simply put, it’s a blood test that checks to see if you are immune to measles, mumps, and rubella.

MMR Titer Testing

For some people, MMR Titer Testing provides peace of mind; for others, it might be required. No matter which category you fall into, Any Lab Test Now can provide you with certified lab results that will either prove you are safe — or let you know that you need to take action. Who might consider MMR Titer Testing? Turns out, a surprising number of people!

College StudentsAccording to the CDC, students at post-high school educational institutions who do not have presumptive evidence of immunity need two doses of MMR vaccine, separated by at least 28 days.

International TravelersEach year, unvaccinated people get infected while in other countries, bring the disease into the United States and spread it to others. Each year, an estimated 10 million people are affected by measles, and the disease kills almost 110,000 people around the world! Measles, in particular, is so contagious that if just one person has it, up to 90 percent of the people close to them who are not immune will also become infected.

Healthcare PersonnelPeople who work in hospitals and doctor’s offices are at high risk and have to have documented proof of protection.

Women of Childbearing AgeIf you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, you might want to check for evidence of immunity before pregnancy. Another important point: women should avoid getting pregnant for at least one month after getting the MMR vaccine.

If you’ve managed to keep your childhood immunization record then you have presumptive evidence of immunity. Also, if you were born before 1957, you should be covered as well. Otherwise, your local Any Lab Test Now is available to provide you with the proof of protection you need.