The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know for almost a year. It has infected approximately 25 million Americans and killed over 700,000. Many have mild cases and recover on their own, and others have severe reactions that put them in the hospital fighting for their lives on ventilators. The impact of COVID-19 varies dramatically between individuals due to variability in the immune system’s ability to fight it. The human immune system is complex, intelligent, and powerful, but some simple and common nutritional deficiencies can weaken immunity. For many, a simple strategy to bolster immunity is to get magnesium and vitamin D levels back into the optimal range.
As of note, not all magnesium is the same, our bodies cannot use magnesium unless it is chelated to an amino acid. Unfortunately, the cheapest form of magnesium that has little or no bioavailability to the body is magnesium oxide, and this form of magnesium is in most supplements. Under no circumstances should you buy a magnesium supplement made with or including magnesium oxide, it’s like throwing your money out of the window. The forms of magnesium that have the highest bioavailability to the body are magnesium chloride, magnesium gluconate, magnesium threonate, magnesium citrate, and magnesium glycinate.
The mineral magnesium activates vitamin D in the body in the liver to 25 hydroxyvitamin S, and finally in the kidneys to 125 hydroxyvitamin D which in its final form is actually a genetic modulating hormone. Vitamin D helps strengthen the immune system by modulating the immune system on a genetic level, but vitamin d also has a direct antiviral effect on enveloped viruses that is not as of yet clearly understood.
In the Pubmed article, “Effects of Vitamin D on COVID-19 Infection and Prognosis: A Systematic Review“, states-
Vitamin D status is related to risks of influenza and respiratory tract infections. Vitamin D has direct antiviral effects primarily against enveloped viruses, and coronavirus is an enveloped virus. The 2019 coronavirus disease had a high mortality rate and impacted the whole population of the planet, with severe acute respiratory syndrome the principal cause of death. Vitamin D can adequately modulate and regulate the immune and oxidative response to infection with COVID-19. The goal of this systematic review was thus to summarize and decide if there were a link between vitamin D status and COVID-19 infection and prognosis.
In response to the “geniuses” that locked down most of the world, especially the uber “geniuses” in Florida and California because they locked down the beaches for months keeping people out of the sun, the article states –
Conclusion: Most of the articles reviewed showed that blood vitamin D status can determine the risk of being infected with COVID-19, seriousness of COVID-19, and mortality from COVID-19. Therefore, maintaining appropriate levels of Vitamin D through supplementation or natural methods, eg, sunlight on the skin, is recommended for the public to be able to cope with the pandemic.
Also referring to the anti-viral efficacy of vitamin d, I quote this research article on Pubmed titled “Vitamin D and the immune system” –
Vitamin D has been used (unknowingly) to treat infections such as tuberculosis before the advent of effective antibiotics. Tuberculosis patients were sent to sanatoriums where treatment included exposure to sunlight which was thought to directly kill the tuberculosis. Cod liver oil, a rich source of vitamin D has also been employed as a treatment for tuberculosis as well as for general increased protection from infections
A new research article “Magnesium and Vitamin D Deficiency as a Potential Cause of Immune Dysfunction, Cytokine Storm and Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation in covid-19 patients” a paper co-authored by cardiovascular research scientist James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, and cardiologist James O’Keefe, MD, of Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute suggests that increasing levels of magnesium and vitamin D may help COVID-19 patients successfully fight off the virus.
A majority of the people in the United States do not consume enough magnesium, mainly because the commercial farm soils are depleted of magnesium, which impairs the immune system. Magnesium improves the white blood cells’ ability to seek out and destroy germs. Low magnesium can lead to a cytokine storm, during which the body attacks its own cells and tissues instead of fighting off infection. This creates inflammation, cell and tissue damage, narrowed blood vessels, and blood clots. During this COVID-19 pandemic, vitamin D insufficiency has been seen in over 80 percent of patients with severe cases of the coronavirus.
Within their research article it states –
The SHADE study gave 60,000 IU/day of vitamin D as a nano-liquid or placebo to 40 asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID patients with vitamin D deficiency.6 Vitamin D supplementation was given for up to 14 days until a vitamin D blood level of 50 ng/ml was achieved. By day 21, three times as many patients in the vitamin D group were SARS-CoV2 negative (62.5%) vs. placebo (20.8%) (p < 0.018, for the difference).Thus, this randomized controlled trial suggests that vitamin D supplementation in vitamin D deficient asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID patients helps to clear the virus quicker.
It also states –
Another study, this time a preprint multicenter, double-blind, randomized controlled trial, gave a single dose of 200,000 IU of vitamin D3 in 240 hospitalized patients with severe COVID.7 These individuals were far out in their course of COVID, with an average of 10.2 days after symptom onset. Importantly, their average baseline vitamin D levels were not deficient but were insufficient. Despite this, mechanical ventilation was cut in half in the vitamin D group (7%) compared to placebo (14.4%), which just missed statistical significance (p=0.090).
Also, a study conducted in Singapore between January and April 2020 tested 43 COVID-19 patients aged 50 or above. A group of 17 patients received magnesium, vitamin D, and B12 daily, while the other 26 did not. Those who received supplementation had an 87 percent lower risk of requiring oxygen therapy and an 85 percent lower risk of needing intensive care.
Another study tested 40 COVID-19 patients who were asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic. Some took vitamin D supplements for two weeks until they achieved a healthy blood level, others took a placebo. After three weeks, three times as many patients in the vitamin D group tested negative for COVID-19 than those who took the placebo.
Low levels of magnesium and vitamin D are a common characteristic in a majority of patients with COVID-19. Getting these levels back into the normal range is a safe and inexpensive over-the-counter treatment that can strengthen immune function. Dr. DiNicolantonio’s and Dr. O’Keefe’s paper concluded that magnesium and vitamin D should get special consideration in the general population during the pandemic.
The complete research article is published in the January/February 2021 issue of Missouri Medicine.