Catching Up On Vitamin D

Daylight saving time ends on Nov. 1, making the days shorter and providing fewer hours to access vitamin D from natural sunlight. That’s why Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care is encouraging New Yorkers to ask their doctors to check their vitamin D levels.

This year, with COVID-19 still present in the region, it’s especially important to make sure everyone gets enough vitamin D, as research continues to emerge showing that those with low vitamin D levels may be more susceptible to catching the coronavirus. 

“Half of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, with much higher rates seen in African Americans, Hispanics, and individuals living in areas where it is difficult to get enough sun exposure in winter,” said Dr. Neal Shipley, the Medical Director for Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care. “People who are deficient in vitamin D may be at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than those with sufficient levels, according to the results of a new retrospective study.”

That study, “Association of Vitamin D Status and Other Clinical Characteristics With COVID-19 Test Results,” was published in early September in JAMA Network Open.

“Individuals with untreated vitamin D deficiency were nearly twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 relative to their peers with adequate vitamin D levels,” Dr. Shipley added. “These findings appear to support a role of vitamin D status in COVID-19 risk.”

There are a host of benefits to gain by having adequate vitamin D levels.

“Vitamin D is important to the function of the immune system and vitamin D supplements have previously been shown to lower the risk of viral respiratory tract infections,” Dr. Shipley said. “This study suggests this may be true for the COVID-19 infection.”

People can find out if they are deficient through a simple blood test by their physician, who may recommend a vitamin D supplement if levels are low. 

But people should not take a supplement without first speaking with their doctor, warned Christine Santori, Program Manager Center for Weight Management for Northwell Health System at Syosset Hospital.

“There’s no benefit for supplemental vitamin D if a deficiency isn’t there,” she said. “If you’re taking too much and you don’t need it, there could be concerns of toxicity levels.” 

Still, those who are deficient in vitamin D may not realize it, including people who spend the majority of their days outside, Ms. Santori said. With no one-size-fits-all, a physician will prescribe the dosage needed.

There are a myriad of ways to absorb vitamin D, besides sunshine. Fatty fish  including salmon, tuna, trout and cod – eggs, yogurt, other dairy and mushrooms are also sources, as are fortified products such as soy and almond milk, juice and cereals, Ms. Santori said. 

But sunlight, a primary vitamin D source, offers other benefits, including helping to regulate mood disorders, enhance bone strength and boost immunity, Ms. Santori said.

And new findings continue to emerge, helping medical experts gain a better understanding of vitamin D and its impact on COVID-19.

“Since Vitamin D is inexpensive, safe, widely available, and easy to take, it’s evident that we need to do randomized clinical trials to see whether interventions among groups at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 could reduce COVID-19 cases,” Dr. Shipley said.

Most Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care locations are open extended hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and are open all holidays – 365 days a year. For more information, visit

-Submitted by Northwell Health-GoHealth Urgent Care

Leave a Reply




Long Islander Wins Second NASCAR Championship In Three Years

It took nine seasons of full-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour racing for Justin Bonsignore to capture his first championship. Two years later, the Long...

Rice And Tuman Vie For Fourth Congressional District Seat

With Election Day just two weeks away, the race for New York’s 4th Congressional District, which covers the communities of Bellerose, Bellerose Terrace, East...

Thought Gallery: Three Virtual Events To Keep You Busy This Week

Consider these recommendations for upcoming virtual talks, readings and more in and around New York City: American Eden: Botany and Medicine in the Early Republic Wednesday,...

Massapequa’s Lawsuit To Bring High School Sports Back Is Dismissed

The Massapequa School District wanted fall sports to get going. So the district sued Section VIII, which controls high school athletics in Nassau County. But...

Islanders Make Large Donation To Elmont Schools

The Elmont community would like to thank the New York Islanders for their generous donation of $100,000. The scholars in the Elmont Union Free School...

Get Updates Via Email

Enter your email to be updated with all the latest news and special announcements.