Vitamin D is a very common supplement for many people, including myself, and it has been in the news a lot lately. Researchers are studying whether Vitamin D can reduce the severity of Covid-19 symptoms, making it a cheap and easy method for decreasing the impact of the pandemic.
I have been taking Vitamin D supplements for several years now. Because of my leukemia diagnosis, I’ve had lots and lots of bloodwork through the years. A few of those tests showed a very low level of Vitamin D, so it has been in my medicine cabinet since. I had to make a trip to the drug store to replenish my supply recently, and the bottle sat on the kitchen counter while Dinner Table Doctor and I were preparing a fabulous meal inspired by a bottle of Priorat, a wine from Catalonia Spain. I asked him for the latest news on Vitamin D and Covid and got an earful while chowing down our delectable dishes. The recipes and wine links are included below.
Vitamin D is necessary for strong bones because it helps your body use calcium, plus it helps your nerves carry messages around your body, and it assists your immune system in fighting bacteria and viruses. While we get some Vitamin D from the sun, and it naturally occurs in fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, much of our Vitamin D comes from fortified bread, milk, milk alternatives and breakfast cereals.
When vitamin D levels are too low in children it can lead to rickets, a disease which causes soft bones and skeletal deformities. In adults, this condition is called osteomalacia. Low Vitamin D level often does not cause obvious symptoms in adults, but it is associated with bone pain and weakness, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and some cancers.
How does this relate to Covid? A recent study in Spain found that 80% of patients hospitalized with Covid-19 had low levels of Vitamin D. Currently there are several studies in the US and other countries examining whether low levels of Vitamin D increase a person’s chance of having severe complications from Covid. Although there are still no definitive conclusions, the initial results have been intriguing enough to justify further research, in the hopes that simple supplements might ward off the more serious effects of the corona virus.
While taking Vitamin D supplements is common, a high level of Vitamin D could be toxic, and they can have an adverse interaction with other medications. Don’t rush out and start swallowing handfuls! If you are not getting the daily recommended dose of Vitamin D, which 600 International Units (IU) for adults up to age 70, and 800 IU for 71 and older, then it is worth talking to your doctor about. There’s a chance you could be more susceptible to complications from Covid-19, though no studies have proven this as of today. Of course, you should talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.
You can find more information about Vitamin D and it’s relationship to Covid here.
Now for our delicious meal – a traditional Catalan dish of Spanish sausage, spinach, and garbanzo beans as well as Truita amb suc, a spinach and white bean tortilla in a sauce. We paired this with a bottle of Priorat, a Spanish wine from the Priorat region of Catalonia.
The sausage recipe was easy. We used chorizo sausage and I know most of you are thinking you’re going to skip the raisins, but just don’t! They truly make the dish and help it to pair perfectly with the wine.
The Truita amb suc was a little more work, but was well worth it, and the only stressful part was flipping the frittata (the recipe calls it a tortilla, but to us it was a frittata!) Also, a little word of caution: when it asks you to transfer it to another pan and then pour the sauce on, you should. We did not, because I was like “Why am I gonna dirty another pan??” When we poured the sauce over the frittata, it basically exploded and made a mess in the kitchen! My advice, if you want to make it easy, is transfer the dish into a lasagna pan with high sides and then pour the warm sauce over it and you’re good to go. It was delicious! Luckily DTD LOVES to clean the stovetop so it all worked out.