How Vitamin D Affects the Body to Prevent Infections
Vitamin D acts in different ways in the body:
• It’s important for bone density and strength of the bones by helping with the absorption of calcium and the mineralization of bones.
• Vitamin D regulates the immune system
• It prevents viral infections such as hepatitis and AIDS by causing autophagy and death of viral-infected cells to occur. It also is responsible for making genetic and epigenetic changes, and affecting signaling pathways in the body. Read more on hepatitis here.
• Helps prevent bacterial vaginosis
• Causes antimicrobial responses to microbes in the macrophages
The macrophages of the immune system – the “Pac-men” cells that engulf foreign microbes, recognize something called LPS or lipopolysaccharide connected to bacterial infections through receptors called toll like receptors (TLR).
When the TLR are activated, peptides created then disrupt the membranes of the bacterial cells and kill the bacteria. Vitamin D plays an important part in this response and it is clear that the creation of these peptides depends on vitamin D levels.
• Suppresses the T cells and inhibits B Cell proliferation and differentiation with subsequent secretion of immunoglobulin. These effects decrease the production of inflammatory cytokines. All this has a lot to do with autoimmune conditions.
All these may not mean much to you if you never had a science class explaining these different cells but the bottom line is that Vitamin D is doing multiple things for your immune system – and it’s a true blessing for your health. You’ll stay healthier with vitamin D, and sickness is inevitable without it.
Effect on Autoimmunity
But there’s even more good that occurs when you have enough vitamin D in your bloodstream.
When vitamin D levels are low, there are higher rates of autoimmune disease. And more studies have shown that autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s Disease, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, and Mixed Connective Diseases progress if there isn’t enough vitamin D in the body.
The opposite of this is that having enough vitamin D can keep your autoimmune disease in check.
All your cells of the immune system respond to vitamin D. They crave the vitamin and depend on it to kill bacteria and viruses and prevent autoimmune conditions from occurring and worsening. Vitamin D is a key factor that links the two different parts of your immunity – innate and adaptive immunity together.
You may have first heard about Vitamin D possibly helping immunity after some reports came out that it may prevent COVID-19 infections.
Study #1 on Vitamin D
One of them was when Dr. Joseph Mercola and two other researchers reported their findings in the journal called Nutrients. They found that 14 different studies offered evidence that vitamin D levels in the blood were related to COVID-19.
Those who had lower levels of vitamin D had a higher incidence or severity of COVID-19. Dr. Mercola and his team believed that the evidence was strong enough that people and physicians can use or recommend vitamin D supplements to prevent or treat COVID-19.
Study #2 on Vitamin D
Another study on Vitamin D and infections by several physicians from Belgium, Sweden, France, Austria, Romania and Harvard concluded the following:
• Vitamin D deficiency is very common.
• Vitamin D decreases acute respiratory infections according to randomized controlled trials.
• Supplementing the diet with vitamin D is safe and cheap, and something easily accomplished.
Study #3 on Vitamin D
Long before COVID-19, the studies on vitamin D showed that vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of influenza.
The doctors and researchers in one of these studies stated in the medical literature that people at risk of influenza could consider taking 10,000 IU per day of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise blood levels of the vitamin.
Then after the few weeks, 5,000 IU could be taken daily. Their recommendation was to raise levels of vitamin D above 40-60 ng/ml, but with those who have been affected COVID-19, higher doses might be needed.
What Can You Do This Winter to Stay Healthy?
Knowing just how important vitamin D really is for your immunity, the best thing you can do right now is ask your doctor to run a blood test on your vitamin D levels. And then when you find out the results, don’t stop there. If you’re low, get on a supplement program with the vitamin so you can supercharge your immunity.
Your cells will thank you for it.
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