KEY POINTS

  • Vitamins C and D boost our immune systems, aiding in the fight against infectious diseases
  • Vitamin D might ;ower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections like COVID-19
  • People with untreated vitamin D deficiency are more likely to test positive for the COVID-19

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), personally takes and recommends two types of vitamins to give the immune systems a boost against COVID-19, and one of them is a free gift from Mother Nature.

The respected infectious disease expert recommends taking both vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and vitamin D (the "Sunshine Vitamin") to help keep the immune systems healthy and potentially fend off infection from the deadly disease.

Fauci said vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin found in many foods and juices, is “a good antioxidant.” Abundant in many fruits and vegetables, vitimin C is a potent antioxidant that helps boost immune function while promoting skin health.

“So if people want to take a gram or two at the most (of) vitamin C, that would be fine,” he said referring to vitamin C supplements.

A study in 2017 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) said vitamin C “contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions” of the body’s immune systems. Vitamin C also appears to prevent and treat “respiratory and systemic infections.”

Because the human body can't produce or store vitamin C, regular consumption of this nutrient in sufficient amounts is necessary. The daily recommended intake of vitamin C is 65 to 90 milligrams for adults.

Most of the foods rich in vitamin C are fruits and veggies such as chili peppers, sweet yellow peppers, lemons, papayas, broccoli and Brussels sprouts.

Vitamin D is the only nutrient produced by the human body when it's exposed to sunlight. Other good source of vitamin D is fish, especially salmon, sardines, herring and tuna. Egg yolks and fortified cow's milk are good non-marine sources of vitamin D.

The recommended daily amount of vitamin D from foods is 600 to 800 international units (15 to 20 micrograms). For people that don't get enough sunlight, however, the daily intake should be about 1,000 IU (25 mcg).

“If you are deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection," said Dr. Fauci. "So I would not mind recommending, and I do it myself taking vitamin D supplements."

Half of Americans are thought to be deficient in vitamin D. Much higher rates of deficiency is seen among African Americans. COVID-19 is also more prevalent among African Americans.

Researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine last week revealed research suggesting a link between vitamin D deficiency and the likelihood of infection By COVID-19. The study found people with an untreated vitamin D deficiency were more likely to test positive for the disease.

“Vitamin D is important to the function of the immune system and vitamin D supplements have previously been shown to lower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections,” David Meltzer, chief of hospital medicine at UChicago Medicine and lead author of the study.

“Understanding whether treating vitamin D deficiency changes COVID-19 risk could be of great importance locally, nationally and globally,” said Dr. Meltzer. “Vitamin D is inexpensive, generally very safe to take, and can be widely scaled.”

SOUNDBITEThe United States is facing a "serious problem" as southern and western states experience a surge in coronavirus cases, says leading government expect Anthony Fauci. SOUNDBITEThe United States is facing a "serious problem" as southern and western states experience a surge in coronavirus cases, says leading government expect Anthony Fauci. Photo: DC POOL /