Viral Transmission reduced with Vitamin D
(Research written and published by Bio concepts)
Vitamin D3 is an emerging front runner in the race to solve the “viral illness” puzzle – after Swiss data revealed supplementation of the vitamin can not only prevent severe symptoms of viral respiratory illness but also reduce transmission virulence.
Recent studies into viral infection have repeatedly described sufficient vitamin D levels (>75mmol/L) as a major defining factor in the prevention and healthy recovery from a viral illness. This is reportedly due in combination to the modulating effects the vitamin has on the innate and adaptive immune systems and the presence of vitamin D receptors in nearly all bodily tissues
Vitamin D initiates major mechanisms of action to reduce the inflammatory burden and virulence of invading pathogens.
Firstly, it stimulates macrophages and respiratory epithelial cells to produce innate antimicrobial peptides destabilizing the cell membranes of invading pathogens, and competitively binds to viral proteins, preventing viral entry into the target host cell.
Lastly, and of most interest, vitamin D protectively downregulates the expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) surface proteins. These are considered to be the primary cellular-receptor entry sites for viral respiratory infections.
Reducing the expression of ACE2 surface proteins has emerged as a vital focus for preventing infection and transmission rates of viral respiratory illness:
Viral infection via ACE2 receptors in renal tubular cells is followed by decreased ACE2 levels in the lungs, resulting in significant accumulation of pro-fibrotic Angiotensin II – a major causative factor of cardiopulmonary injury.
Viral propensity to use the commonly expressed ACE2 receptor to facilitate human-human and cross-species viral transmission.
Concomitant increased ACE levels and vitamin D insufficiency have been observed in patients with severe viral respiratory illness.
Traditionally, vitamin D is considered best obtained from regular sunlight exposure, however, a study that compared vitamin D levels of viral PCR-positive and negative groups did not reveal significant differences in total sun exposure between populations. Rather, dietary and supplemental sources of vitamin D were more important factors in maintaining sufficient, protective levels of the vitamin.
Across the recent research, maintaining sufficient (>75mmol/L) vitamin D levels is noted as the best biological defense against viral infection, recommending those with low levels seek to rapidly increase their concentrations.
Daily doses of 10,000IU for as long as it takes to reach optimal levels are recommended, followed by 5,000IU/day to maintain sufficient levels for protection against viral infection.