Updated: Apr 9, 2021
Since last March, as you are well aware, numerous individuals and societies in our global world have been battling the pandemic flu virus, COVID-19. Policies including face masks and social distancing have prevented hospitals and critical care units from being overloaded. However, as we begin returning to our normal lives including school and work at the same time seasonal temperatures are falling, we are seeing COVID-19 case numbers rising.
Current research and clinical trials are indicating Vitamin D supplements might be a simple preventative measure from contracting this virus. These trails also show Vitamin D supplementation may lessen the severity and long-term effects of COVID-19. Now is the perfect time to get your brand into the Vitamin D market especially within the United States (US).
Obtaining Vitamin D Naturally
Our main, natural source of Vitamin D comes from the power of the sun. We naturally produce Vitamin D as the sun synthesizes the cholesterol found in the layers of our skin. However, those individuals living at latitudes greater than 34 degrees north do not see enough sunshine, especially during the winter, to generate the amount of Vitamin D they need for optimal functioning.
In the US, the 34-degree latitude line runs through the middle of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and the southern boundary of Tennesse and North Carolina. This means most of the US population including those living in major cities like San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Philidelphia, Boston, and Washington D.C. are not getting the amount of Vitamin D they need from exposure to the sun.
Recommended Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D blood levels between 20 and 50 ng/mL are considered adequate for healthy people. To maintain an adequate Vitamin D blood level, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends adults over age seventy get 800 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D daily while children, teens, and adults get 600 IU. It is not uncommon for individuals with a long-term Vitamin D deficiency to receive medical advice to take up to 4,000 IU of Vitamin D daily.
Who is at Risk for being Vitamin D Deficient?
People who cannot efficiently obtain Vitamin D from exposure to the sun. This includes individuals with darker skin, individuals who cover their skin with clothes or sunscreen, and individuals living at latitudes greater than 34-degrees north or south of the equator.
Infants who are exclusively breastfed.
Individuals who do not regularly consume foods rich in Vitamin D. These foods include fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks, and Vitamin D fortified foods like milk, juice, or breakfast cereals.
Individuals who are obese since fat tissue binds Vitamin D preventing its circulation in the body.
Adults age seventy years and older. Older adults’ skin is less effective at synthesizing Vitamin D from the sun. Also, the kidneys of older adults are less able to convert Vitamin D to its active form.
Individuals with eating disorders like Celiac or Chrone’s disease. These diseases don’t handle fat properly. Vitamin D requires fat for proper absorption.
Possible Side Effects of Long-Term Vitamin D Deficiency
The most serious side effect of long-term Vitamin D deficiency is brittle bones. Vitamin D is required for the absorption of calcium. Bones are mostly composed of calcium. If an individual has a Vitamin D deficiency, it will harm their bone strength.
Vitamin D is important to overall health in several other ways. Low Vitamin D levels are a contributing factor in the following health issues:
Respiratory Tract Infections – The NIH reports Vitamin D is necessary to boost the immune system in fighting off viral and bacterial infections. Recently, Northwestern University researchers suggest that Vitamin D deficiency is linked to major complications and increased mortality rates for individuals battling COVID-19. Clinical trials are ongoing to determine if Vitamin D supplementation might prevent or decrease the severity of COVID-19.
Chronic Fatigue – A primary care facility conducted a study on patients complaining of low energy levels which reduces their quality of life. Blood tests revealed a high number of these patients had low Vitamin D levels. After five weeks of Vitamin D supplementation, patients’ self-reported fatigue scores were greatly reduced while their Vitamin D levels were normalized.
Bone and Low Back Pain – Low levels of Vitamin D were associated with severe back pain that limited daily activities in an observational study of thousands of women. Other studies show Vitamin D deficiency is related to bone pain in the joints, ribs, and legs.
Muscle Cramps and Spasm – In NIH’s Vitamin D fact sheet for health professionals, they state low levels of Vitamin D causes involuntary muscle contractions due to inadequate calcium absorption. These contractions result in painful cramps and spasms.
Declined Cognitive Functioning – Studies indicate the valuable role Vitamin D plays in neurodevelopment, function, and protection. One analysis conducted in 2017 believes there is an increased risk of dementia in adults over age 65 when Vitamin D levels are below 10 ng/mL.
Depression – Many observational studies show a link between Vitamin D deficiency and depression. However, clinical trials do not support this link. One abstract by Penckofer hypothesizes depression is a secondary condition caused by the chronic ill-health of individuals related to Vitamin D deficiency.
Possible Long-Term Health Benefits of Sufficient Vitamin D
In the NIH fact sheet for health professionals, the benefits of adequate Vitamin D levels include:
Good Bone Health
Reduce Cancer Mortality Rates
Possible Reduction in Type 2 Diabetes
Get into the Vitamin D Market Today
The Vitamin D supplement market is well established with plenty of room for your brand. The 2019 Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements reports Vitamin D is the second most used supplement in the United States by those over age thirty-five regardless of gender. Only a multi-vitamin ranks higher than Vitamin D in terms of supplement users. Let Origin Nutra help get your brand into the game.
Penckofer, Sue PhD, RN et al. “Vitamin D and Depression: Where is all the Sunshine.” Issues in Mental Health Nursing. 2010. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908269/
Spritzler, Franziska. “8 Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency.” Healthline. 2018. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3
Vitamin D Deficiency. Diet and Weight Management. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/vitamin-d-deficiency#1
Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Consumers. National Institute of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. 2020. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-Consumer/
Roy, Satyajeet et al. “Correction of Low Levels of Vitamin D Improves Fatigue: Effect of Correction of Low Vitamin D in Fatigue Study.” North American Journal of Medical Sciences. 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4158648/
Anjum, Ibrar et al. “The Role of Vitamin D in Brain Health: A Mini Literature Review.” Cureus. 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6132681/
“Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals.” National Institute of Health: Office of Dietary Supplements. 2020. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
Northwestern University. “Vitamin D Levels Appear to Play in COVID-19 Mortality Rates.” Science News. 2020. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200507121353.htm
Olena, Abby. “Trails Seek to Answer if Vitamin D Could Help in COVID-19.” The Scientist. 2020. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/trials-seek-to-answer-if-vitamin-d-could-help-in-covid-19-67817