You know I have been passionate about how useful optimal levels of vitamin D can be in lowering your COVID-19 risk. For the last few months I have been working on a campaign that I really need your help on. The new site is StopCOVIDCold and you can reach it by clicking the button below.
New Campaign to Spread the Word About Vitamin D
Once you are on the site, there is a quiz you can take that will help you determine your risk for getting COVID-19 by answering a few questions that will only take you a few minutes. There is also an opportunity to upload a Facebook frame to your Facebook profile picture to help spread the word.
The media has failed miserably in educating the public on how to improve their immune system and has instead relied on the false hope of drugs, vaccines, social distancing and masks, all of which do nothing to improve your immune system.
We need your help in sharing this information with the elderly, and Blacks, who are most at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
The goal is to get this information out to tens, if not hundreds of millions of people. I simply can’t do it without your help. We plan on launching this information to 50-100 sites and I am giving readers of this site the first opportunity to participate in this process. I would deeply appreciate it if you could provide your feedback in the comment section below.
Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to More Severe COVID-19
Vitamin D, in particular, has emerged as an essential nutrient in the fight against COVID-19. In a letter to the editor published by Clinical Endocrinology, Dr. Grigorios Panagiotou, a clinical fellow in endocrinology and diabetes at the U.K.’s Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals, found that COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive treatment units (ITUs) were more likely to be vitamin D deficient than those who were managed in medical wards.
Specifically, “only 19% of the ITU COVID-19 patients had 25(OH)D (vitamin D) levels greater than 50 nmol/L (20 ng/mL) versus 39.1% of non-ITU patients.”1
“Vitamin D receptors are highly expressed in B- and T-lymphocytes, suggesting a role in modulating innate and adaptive immune responses,” Panagiotou said in a news release. “[Vitamin D] levels reach their nadir at the end of winter, and low levels are associated with increased risk of acute respiratory tract infections during winter [and are] mitigated by vitamin D supplementation.”2
While this study did not find an association between vitamin D and COVID-19 fatality, it could be due to the small sample size and quick diagnosis and treatment of vitamin D deficiency.3 In fact, other research has linked vitamin D to increased death rates.
Researchers in Indonesia, who looked at data from 780 COVID-19 patients, found those with a vitamin D level between 21 ng/mL (52.5 nmol/L) and 29 ng/mL (72.5 nmol/L) had a 12.55 times higher risk of death than those with a level above 30 ng/mL.4 Having a level below 20 ng/mL was associated with a 19.12 times higher risk of death.
Even the French National Academy of Medicine released a press release in May 2020 detailing the importance of vitamin D for COVID-19.5 For COVID-19 patients over 60, they recommend vitamin D testing and if deficiency is found, a bolus dose of 50,000 to 100,000 IU. For anyone under the age of 60 who receives a positive COVID-19 test, they advise taking 800 IUs to 1,000 IUs of vitamin D per day.
A vitamin D review paper published in the journal Nutrients in April 2020 recommends higher amounts, stating:6
“To reduce the risk of infection, it is recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 consider taking 10,000 IU/d of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/d.
The goal should be to raise 25(OH)D concentrations above 40–60 ng/mL (100–150 nmol/L). For treatment of people who become infected with COVID-19, higher vitamin D3 doses might be useful.”
The best way to know how much vitamin D you need is to have your levels tested. Data from GrassrootsHealth’s D*Action studies suggest the optimal level for health and disease prevention is between 60 ng/mL and 80 ng/mL, while the cutoff for sufficiency appears to be around 40 ng/mL. In Europe, the measurements you’re looking for are 150 to 200 nmol/L and 100 nmol/L respectively.
I recently published a comprehensive vitamin D report in which I detail vitamin D’s mechanisms of action and how to ensure optimal levels. I recommend downloading and sharing that report with everyone you know, as the time to optimize your vitamin D level is now — before the fall and winter.
Additional Nutrient Strategies to Combat COVID-19
As with many viral infections, COVID-19 appears to have a nutritional component, by which you may lower your risk of severe outcomes by using vitamins and minerals therapeutically. Considering that current COVID-19 treatments are few and far between, and even “standard” therapies like mechanical ventilation appear to be backfiring,7 the use of natural solutions has caught the eye of numerous researchers.
Among them are researchers with the Singapore General Hospital and Duke-NUS Medical School, who set out to determine if a combination of vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin B12 would improve outcomes among COVID-19 patients aged 50 and older. Their basis was to attack the inflammatory component of the infection, noting:8
“A broad theme of immune hyper-inflammation has emerged as a key determinant of patient outcome with uncontrolled immune response postulated as a pathophysiologic factor in disease severity. Intuitively, immunomodulation becomes an attractive potential treatment strategy.”
Vitamin D, Magnesium, B12 Combo Improves COVID Outcomes
The cohort study involved 43 COVID-19 patents who were admitted to the Singapore General Hospital between January 15, 2020, and April 15, 2020. Seventeen of the patients received oral vitamin D3 (1,000 IU), magnesium (150 milligrams (mg)) and vitamin B12 (500 mcg) — together known as DMB — upon admission for a median of five days while 26 patients who did not receive DMB served as the control group.9
Significant benefits were seen among the DMB group, with only 17.6% requiring initiation of oxygen therapy during their hospitalization, compared to 61.5% of those in the control group. The requirement for oxygen is associated with an increased risk of needing intensive care, and the DMB group also benefited in this area.
Among those in the DMB group who required supplemental oxygen (three out of the 17 patients), two required ICU admission while one did not. Among the control group, all of those who needed supplemental oxygen required further ICU support. Nine of the DMB patients were given the combination within the first week of the onset of symptoms, and only one among them required oxygen therapy.
Overall, only three of the DMB patients deteriorated, two of whom deteriorated within 24 hours and may not have had enough time for the combo to work. The third case was started on DMB after seven days from onset of symptoms, and the researchers believe starting earlier in the course of the infection may be important.10
Further, DMB was protective even after accounting for other risk factors, including age and high blood pressure:11
“On univariate analysis, increasing age and hypertension demonstrated significantly higher odds ratio for oxygen therapy, while exposure to DMB therapy was associated with a significantly improved odds ratio. Multivariate analysis showed that DMB remained a significant protective factor against clinical deterioration after adjusting for age or hypertension separately.”
Combo Targets the Inflammatory Response
The researchers noted that many current therapeutics are focused on viral elimination instead of modulating the hyper-inflammation often seen in the disease. In fact, uncontrolled immune response has been suggested as a factor in disease severing, making immunomodulation “an attractive potential treatment strategy.”12
For example, cytokines are a group of proteins that your body uses to control inflammation. If you have an infection, your body will release cytokines to help combat inflammation, but sometimes it releases more than it should.
If the cytokine release spirals out of control, the resulting “cytokine storm” becomes dangerous and is closely tied to sepsis, which may be an important contributor to the death of COVID-19 patients.13
“COVID-19 is therefore a multi-organ phenomenon and it is becoming evident that appropriate systemic inflammatory control is necessary for overall survival benefit,” the researchers explained, writing how vitamin D, magnesium and vitamin B12 present a unique three-pronged approach for tackling COVID-19:14
“Vitamin D, through its effect on NFkB and other pathways, can attenuate various proinflammatory cytokine mediating the uncontrolled cytokine storm seen in severe COVID-19 with deficiency associated with severe COVID-19.
Magnesium is critical in the synthesis and activation of vitamin D, acting as a cofactor in many of the enzymes involved in vitamin D metabolism. Vitamin B12 is essential in supporting a healthy gut microbiome which has an important role in the development and function of both innate and adaptive immune systems.
This could be pivotal in preventing excessive immune reaction especially in COVID-19 patients with microbiota dysbiosis which were associated with severe disease.”
No side effects or adverse events occurred after DMB administration, which also provides an inexpensive, readily available solution that could be easily administered in doctor’s offices at the first onset of symptoms or even taken prophylactically among high-risk populations during outbreaks. There may even be benefit against other viral infections:15
“As all agents in this combination are readily available, safe and inexpensive, DMB can benefit a large swath of the world population especially in economically-challenged countries with limited or late access to vaccines and other therapies. DMB may also exhibit a generic efficacy against other viral infections with similar pathological mechanism.”
Magnesium Works in Concert With Vitamin D
Magnesium, which is required for the conversion of vitamin D into its active form, is important to ensure you’re properly utilizing the vitamin D you’re taking.
Research by GrassrootsHealth, based on data from nearly 3,000 individuals, reveals you need 244% more oral vitamin D if you’re not also taking magnesium and vitamin K2, which also works synergistically with vitamin D and helps prevent complications associated with excessive calcification in your arteries.16
What this means in practical terms is that if you take all three supplements in combination, you need far less oral vitamin D in order to achieve a healthy vitamin D level. This is also part of the success of the featured study’s DMB combination, which combines vitamin D with magnesium.
Importantly, a study published in October 2019 in the online issue of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice also linked to low magnesium levels with both diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which are risk factors for severe COVID-19 outcomes.17
Dark green leafy vegetables are a good source of magnesium, and juicing your greens is an excellent way to boost your intake, although supplementation may also be necessary for some people.
If your magnesium intake from food is lacking, it would certainly be wise to supplement, either orally or topically. For oral supplementation, my personal preference is magnesium threonate, as it appears to be the most efficient at penetrating cell membranes, including your mitochondria and blood-brain barrier.
As a general rule, I recommend starting out on a dose of 200 mg of oral magnesium citrate per day, gradually increasing your dose until you develop slightly loose stools. To use this method, you need to use magnesium citrate, as it’s known for having a laxative effect. Once you know your cutoff, you can switch to other forms if you like. These include:
- Magnesium glycinate, a powder with low solubility. Glycine is an important amino acid and precursor for glutathione.
- Ionic magnesium found in molecular hydrogen tablets. Each water-soluble tablet has about 80 mg of highly bioavailable unbound magnesium ions, which is about 20% of the recommended daily allowance.
- Magnesium threonate is another excellent choice as it seems it can efficiently penetrate the blood-brain barrier.
- Magnesium malate, which dissolves very well in water. Malate is an intermediary in the Krebs cycle, so it likely contributes to ATP production.
- Magnesium bisglycinate, which has high bioavailability.
As for vitamin B12, the third component of DMB, increasing B12-rich foods, such as grass fed beef liver, wild rainbow trout and wild sockeye salmon, in your diet can help, but for more serious deficiency you may need weekly shots of vitamin B12 or daily high-dose B12 supplements.
It’s encouraging, however, that simple and readily available nutrients such as these are showing such significant promise against COVID-19, and highlights the importance of optimizing your nutrient intake year-round to stay healthy and help ward off infectious disease.