So far everyone in my family is still safe from the fires, and rain has finally improved the air quality in Portland.
I’d like to share some important information about Covid . We have had quite a bit of data over the last couple of months showing a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and severity of Covid disease. Now we have a study out of Spain showing cause and effect. Hospitalized Covid patients were given standard treatment with or without the addition of a special form of vitamin D that raises blood levels within a day (taking ordinary vitamin D can take a week to fully convert to active form). The amounts given were not huge - the equivalent of 20,000 IU on day 1, 10,000 IU on day 3 and day 7. (We give 50,000 IU once a week of regular vitamin D all the time for vitamin D deficiency).
The results were striking. Of the patients who received vit D, none died and only 2% (1 patient of the 50) required ICU admission. Of the patients who did not receive vitamin D, half ended up in the ICU and 4% died (2 out of 26). This is huge proof that by just keeping your vitamin D level up in a good range you may be able to stay in the milder range of Covid.
The big experts in the field have talked of making 2,000 IU/d the new RDA. Patients with low vitamin D often need 5,000 IU per day to bring levels up. I usually give vitamin K with bigger doses like this to ensure that any increased calcium absorption is directed to the bones where it belongs. (Note that people on warfarin cannot take vitamin K). Some have recommended 10,000 IU/d for the first month if you’re deficient, to bring levels up faster in this time of Covid.
People with a history of kidney stones, sarcoidosis or high calcium levels from hyperparathyroidism or bony metastases should consult their doctors and may be better getting their vitamin D from sun exposure without sunscreen (only 1/4 -1/2 the amount it would take to start to turn pink, 3 times a week - varies with how dark skinned you are) but this is not possible in the wintertime at higher latitudes like San Francisco.
This is exciting news because it is a huge effect for an easily modifiable risk factor.