Breaking News
More () »

Are you getting enough vitamin D?

Vitamin D can help build your immune system to fight off all kinds of illnesses, possibly even COVID-19.

TAMPA, Fla. — One of the building blocks of our immune system is vitamin D and if you don't have enough, your risk of getting sick might be higher than others. 

There are some studies that show a lack of vitamin D could have an influence on the severity of COVID-19. These early studies have grabbed interest in the healthcare community. 

Researchers at the University of Chicago Medicine recently found an association between vitamin D deficiency and the likelihood of becoming infected with the coronavirus.  This could partly explain why we are seeing a higher incidence of the virus in minority communities since health experts say they are more likely to have lower levels of vitamin D.

It's estimated 40 percent of all adults in the US have a vitamin D deficiency, but in minority communities, that number is much higher, doctors say.

"With these patients who are low in vitamin D, they tend to be African Americans, about 80=percent, and Latinos tend to be about 70 percent. That maybe being low in vitamin D is predisposing them to the high mortality that we're seeing with coronavirus," said Dr. Ken Redcross.

According to Dr. Redcross, this is creating a perfect storm for a virus that preys on an already weakened immune system. "Heart disease, lung disease and diabetes: all three tend to run rampant in the African American community."

Dr. Redcross is encouraging everyone to make sure they are getting enough vitamin D because it's proven to help fight off all kinds of illnesses.  

"It's not only about the coronavirus. We know that with other viruses such as influenza and upper respiratory infections, which tend to be regular coronavirus, echovirus, rhinovirus, those are the typical viruses that we get.   That vitamin D could be important for those as well."

At this point, the studies on vitamin D and COVID-19 are very small and researchers say more needs to be done before they can say there is a definitive connection, but early results are encouraging.  

If you're concerned you might be low in Vitamin D, talk to your doctor and ask them to test your levels. There are home kits you can order to find out your level with a finger prick, but as always, before taking or starting any type of supplements, you should talk to your doctor.

According to the CDC, these medical conditions can put you at increased risk for a more severe case of COVID-19. 

RELATED: VERIFY: Why vitamin D is beneficial to some, but not a COVID-19 'cure'

RELATED: Florida coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, deaths and recoveries

What other people are reading right now:

►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app

Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter

Before You Leave, Check This Out