The worst time for a pandemic to occur in the United States is from January to April. The autumnal equinox changes the angle of the sun’s rays in September and the amount of sunlight is limited.
One of the properties of Vitamin D is an increase of human immunities, the body’s ability to fight disease. Vitamin D is called the “Sunshine Vitamin” because the body can make Vitamin D from exposure to sunshine.
Vitamin D can be stored in the body in fat cells for an average of three months. Count the months after September: October, November and December, that’s three months after the autumnal equinox. Bam!! January is the beginning of cold and flu season. One of the main reasons is a decrease in Vitamin D stored in a person’s body.
The elderly are notorious for having low Vitamin D levels because of their exposure to sunlight, especially after September. They have difficulty regulating body temperature and often wear sweaters and long pants to stay warm. They also come from a bygone era where showing arms and legs in public was frowned upon.
The recent COVID-19 epidemic puts the elderly at a high risk for many reasons. An interesting statistic would be the victim’s Vitamin D levels.
The fact that this pandemic occurred during the Christian season of Lent may be a saving grace for many. Previous church guidelines prohibited eating meat during Lent, 40 days before Easter. Many older folks still refrain from meat and substitute fish and eggs instead.
Tuna, mackerel, oysters, shrimp, salmon, and sardines are the foods highest in Vitamin D. Eggs, specifically the yolks, are also good sources of Vitamin D in food.
These protein substitutes can increase Vitamin D levels during the season of Lent and improve the ability to fight against illness. Mushrooms are also good sources of Vitamin D.
Milk, orange juice, some cereals, and soy products are fortified with Vitamin D. Foods high in Vitamins A and K are also valuable, because they help the body use this vitamin in the body.
The Vernal or Spring Equinox occurred on March 19, and sunlight has increased. Twenty minutes of daily sun exposure without sunscreen to the arms, legs, and face are enough to resupply Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency is quite common. Annually, about 40% of Americans are lacking this valuable nutrient at any given time. The percentage increases for Hispanics and doubles in African Americans. If the best sources of this vitamin cannot be consumed daily or obtained by sunlight, consider a supplement.
Many people do not like to take more pills or supplements than are prescribed by their physician. Talk to your health care provider about Vitamin D supplements. A routine dose is 1,000 IU a day but not to exceed 10,000 IU daily.
Vitamin D is one of the most useful nutritional tools we have at our disposal during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bobbie Randall is a registered, licensed dietitian in Wooster, Ohio. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.