Preventing Hospital Infections with Vitamin D
The longer one is hospitalized the more likely he or she will come down with a hospital-acquired infection. We now have growing evidence that vitamin D is useful in preventing hospital infections.
This article discusses vitamin D’s role in enhancing innate immunity and potentiating antimicrobial activity fungi, viruses, and bacteria through various mechanisms.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the chart below should say it all. The incidence of hospital infections approaches 0 once a vitamin D level of over 50 is reached. This important because most physicians consider a vitamin D of 30 as being normal. This level is too low. To be sure some studies have shown vitamin D not to be important in preventing infections but those studies used a vitamin D level of 30 as the target goal.
How Much Vitamin D to Prevent Hospital Infections?
Many physicians, like the general population, mistaken the reference range used in lab reports, as representing a normal or healthy range. But, it is not. The reference simply tells us where the middle 95% of the population fall for a particular lab test. In the case of vitamin D, a level of 30 puts you at 2.5% of the population as the reference range includes those from 2.5% to 97.5% or the middle 95%. We hope that makes sense.
Now that you know a vitamin D level of 30 is 2.5% of the range, it might be more intuitively obvious that a level of 30 may not provide any protection against infection.
So here is the big question. How much vitamin D should you take? Unfortunately, it is question that is incomplete, but one that is frequently asked and answered with something like,”You should take 2,000 IUs of vitamin D3 day.”
A better question is, “How much vitamin D should I take to get my vitamin d level above 50?” An even better question is simply, “What should my vitamin D level be?”
Your vitamin D level should be above 50. That is the answer. You can get there with natural sunlight, vitamin D in foods, and/or through vitamin D supplementation.
For those needing supplementation to get their vitamin D level above 50, there is no set dosage recommendation. Some might need 800 IUs of vitamin D a day, for others 2,000 IUs a day, and for others 5,000 or more IUs a day. You will have to experiment some and see what the magical dose is for you to get your vitamin D level above 50.
However, don’t rely on simply taking vitamin D supplements. Try to get vitamin D in your foods and also from being out in the sun.
We make vitamin D in our skin in response to sunlight. Our ability to make vitamin D goes down as we age. The elderly who tend to be in-doors more. That coupled with lower vitamin D production tend to have low vitamin D levels and they are the ones more likely to develop a hospital acquired infection.
Medics during the Spanish flu outbreak noted that patients with the Spanish flu who were treated outdoors and in sunlight fared better than those who were not.
COVID 19 and Vitamin D
Vitamin D is being used in the battle to treat COVID 19 especially in the early stage. I recommend it routinely to my patients. VDmeta.com. If you go to the menu bar at the top of this link you see “Select Treatment”. Click on that and you will see all the medications and supplements being used to treat COVID. Click on any drug or supplement and you will see the results of efficacy for treating COVID for a particular drug or supplement.
This recently published study found that pre-hospitalziation vitamin deficiency was associated with more severe cases of COVID-19 and higher mortality rates.