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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 cause of death among 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 .

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 tend to 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 absorbing 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 to many 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 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 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 Institute of Health recommends eating foods naturally rich in vitamin D, including 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 a doctor’s order to get the test done. Test results generally take between 24 to 72 business hours after your specimen is collected.

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

Be at Ease

At Any Lab Test Now, we are very mindful about people’s fears about going to a healthcare facility and possibly encountering a coronavirus patient. You can be at ease at Any Lab Test Now that we are providing you a safe and clean alternative location for lab work. Each of our 190+ stores is 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 manage your healthcare so you can make educated decisions that will directly affect your quality of life. We want to put you at ease during the coronavirus outbreak. We are here to help.

Find your closest Any Lab Test Now store at www.anylabtestnow.com.