TIGIST ASHAKA- STAFF WRITER
Vitamin D this, and vitamin D that. Because early research has linked vitamin D deficiency with the probability of more severe COVID-19 symptoms, vitamin D seems to be all the news talks about.
Unfortunately, the National Institutes of Health concludes that “there are in- sufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of vitamin D for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.”However, NIH does acknowledge a correlation between overrepresented populations of COVID-19 and vitamin D-deficient groups, such as Hispanics and African Americans. Indeed, the AARP reported in 2016
that “41.6 percent of Americans overall were vitamin D deficient, but the deficiency rate was 82.1 percent for African Americans.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that African Americans are more likely to develop health problems such as stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes at a young age due to a lack of vitamin D. With that in mind, if COVID attacks the immune system, and people already have a pre-existing condition, it could potentially result in more severe symptoms or even death. This is one of the many reasons why taking a vitamin D supplement is necessary to protect a person’s health.
Furthermore, African Americans should take vitamin D seriously not only because it builds up people’s immune systems but because it also helps with mood stabilization. Maintaining one’s mental health is crucial during a pandemic, but for many our access to the outdoors—and, thus, an outlet for the natural production of vitamin D—is now often limited.
“I feel sad and unmotivated when it is gloomy outside compared to when it is a sunny day out,” said HU student Imani Porter.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a seasonal depreciation meaning the less sun there is outside, the more they go into this depression state. Researches Partonen, Vakkuri, Lamberg-Allardt, and Lonnqvist (1996) studied the importance of people exposing themselves to the sun. They found that the people with “one hour of light therapy significantly decreased depressive symptoms more so in the group with SAD than the control group” (Penckofer, Kouba, Byrn, Ferrans). If people think an hour is a not long time compared to the amount of time people spend on their social media. Think again!
If people have not learned any- thing from 2020, it is crucial to slow down and take care of themselves. If a person cannot spend an hour outside, take a supplement so that they won’t be a victim, they can also eat food such as salmon, liver, and oatmeal, since they all contain the vitamin D nutrient. Lastly, vitamin D is essential for bone strength and skeletal integrity. The best way to get vitamin D is from the sun, but now that people are spending so much time in their homes, it might be challenging. If people have the time, they should wear their mask and go outside (six feet apart, of course) to get fresh air. 2020 has been hard for everyone but the big takeaway is the importance of taking care of themselves. Doing what is necessary to be the best person an individual can be and taking vitamin D supplements can help them to become as healthy as possible and live a long life.