UChicago Medicine study links vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19

Paul Kriegler, a registered dietician with Life Time, has some tips for how to get more vitamin D in your diet — orange juice not required.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — The University of Chicago Medicine recently found an association between being low on vitamin D and the likelihood of becoming infected with COVID-19. 

In a study, patients who had vitamin D deficiency were almost twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 compared to patients who had sufficient levels of the vitamin.

According to Paul Kriegler, a registered dietitian with Life Time, vitamin D is vital for the function of the immune system, and has previously been shown to lower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections. He said this study suggests that the same could be true for COVID-19.

“Getting sunlight each day is the easiest and best way to get vitamin D,” he said. “However, with fall and winter arriving in Minnesota soon, it’s very easy for people to get less than what they need, so a vitamin D supplement is then your best bet. Even if you eat fortified foods, the amount you consume through diet is a fraction of what you need each day. That being said, fatty fish like wild salmon or tuna, beef liver and egg yolks are your best food sources for vitamin D.” 

Kriegler recommended that people get their vitamin D levels tested at least twice a year.

He also said that Zinc supplements should be used more, not only for the immune system, but for reproductive health, muscles, bones and overall mood and brain health. 

“At Life Time we recommend people consider taking the ‘Foundational Five’ supplements to benefit their overall health,” he added. “Vitamin D is one of them, but we also recommend to most people a high quality multivitamin, magnesium, fish oil and digestive enzymes.” 

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