Vitamins are nutrients that the body cannot create, so we must consume them in our diet. The exception however is vitamin D which the body can produce on its own. Despite its name, vitamin D is not a vitamin, but a prohormone, or precursor of a hormone.
What is Vitamin D3?
Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps the body use calcium and phosphorous to build and maintain strong bones and teeth.
Vitamin D is unique in that it can be synthesized by the body after exposure to ultraviolet rays from sunlight. Too little vitamin D can cause calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood to decrease, leading to calcium being pulled out of the bones to help maintain stable blood levels.
This can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia (softening of the bones) or osteoporosis (fragile bones) in adults. However, if you take too much vitamin D, it can cause calcium to build up in your body, which can lead to problems with your kidneys, heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
Vitamin D known as the sunshine vitamin is essential for several reasons, including maintaining strong bones and teeth. It may also protect against a range of diseases and conditions, such as type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and help stabilize blood pressure.. Vitamin D by nature is an anti-inflammatory. Deficiency causes immune system weakness and chronic inflammation.
Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D2, which can help keep your blood levels of vitamin D in a healthy range.
A recent study on Vitamin D claims that vitamin D prevents respiratory infections, especially in older adults whose vitamin D levels are low.
Although its specific role in corona virus infections is still unknown, researchers vouch for its effectiveness in boosting the immune system. Deficiency in vitamin D may be a factor in one's condition, should they be contracted with COVID-19.
Mushrooms Are Rich In Vitamin D3
Simply eating mushrooms, including the grocery store variety like button mushrooms, portobello mushroom, or shiitake mushrooms can have health benefits.
Exposing any type of mushroom to uvb light or sun exposure can increase the amount of vitamins and minerals they contain.
For prevention, supplement with 5,000 - 10,000 IU of vitamin D daily which is safe for most adults. Vitamin D is effective for prevention of the flu, colds, cancer and approximately 200 different diseases.
Mushrooms are the only food that contain vitamin D, naturally. All other natural food sources of vitamin D are of animal, poultry or seafood origin. Also, some foods, such as milk, orange juice and cereals may be fortified with vitamin D, up to 100 IU.
Cultivated mushrooms contain a plant sterol called ergosterol, which is the precursor of Vitamin D². In fresh mushrooms, ergosterol is stimulated to convert to vitamin D² by ultraviolet light, either exposed to sunlight or artificial lights.
Humans manufacture our own antibiotic through vitamin D stimulation. Vitamin D promotes production of cathelicidin, a protein that kills viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. The more vitamin D in our system the more the body makes this antibiotic.
Mushrooms exposed to natural sunlight or UV radiation are a good source of vitamin D2, according to one study.
The study suggests that mushrooms are just as effective as vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 supplements at maintaining vitamin D levels.
The study concludes with something that we love to share with those interested in the wonderful world of fungi. Mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D2, which can help keep your blood levels of vitamin D in a healthy range.
At the first sign of the flu, Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council recommends taking 50,000 IU of vitamin D for 5 days. Then dropping the level down to 5-10,000 IU daily.
There is overwhelming evidence that vitamin D prevents infection. World authorities on vitamin D verify that up to 30,000 IU daily for adults is quite safe. Also, periodic higher does of 50,000 IU daily for 5 days are of no concern.
Vitamin D works even better if taken with vitamin K2. Both are anti-inflammatory and can prevent as well as treat infections successfully.
COVID-19 patients who were vitamin D sufficient had a significant decreased risk of becoming unconscious from hypoxia (body starved for oxygen) and death.
Vitamin D Significantly Reduces Complications and Death Among COVID-19 Patients
They also had less inflammation and increased levels of immune cells to help fight infection. 'This study provides direct evidence that vitamin D can reduce the complications and ultimately death from COVID-19,'2
A blood sample to measure vitamin D was taken from 235 patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. These patients were monitored for severity of the infection, becoming unconscious, difficulty in breathing and death.
The red blood cells were also analyzed for an inflammatory marker (C-reactive protein) and for numbers of lymphocytes. The researchers then compared all of these parameters in patients who were vitamin D deficient to those who were vitamin D sufficient.
Patients over 40 who were vitamin D sufficient were 51.5 percent less likely to die from Covid.
Recent studies show that a sufficient amount of vitamin D can reduce the risk of catching Covid-19 by 54 percent. (3)
Michael Holick, professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, suggests that vitamin D could help reduce the severity of the coronavirus and improve outcomes.
Read More: Mushrooms and Beta Glucan for Good Health
“Because vitamin D deficiency is so widespread worldwide, especially in the winter months, it is prudent for everyone take a vitamin D supplement. This helps to reduce risk of being infected and having complications from COVID-19.”(2)
(1,2) “Vitamin D sufficiency, a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D at least 30 ng/mL reduced risk for adverse clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19 infection” by Zhila Maghbooli, Mohammad Ali Sahraian, Mehdi Ebrahimi, Marzieh Pazoki, Samira Kafan, Hedieh Moradi Tabriz, Azar Hadadi, Mahnaz Montazeri, Mehrad Nasiri, Arash Shirvani and Michael F. Holick, 25 September 25 2020, PLOS ONE.
(2,3): Corresponding author Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics and molecular medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.