13 Nov Vitamin D is Critical for Immune Function
Vitamin D is critical to immune function, which keeps inflammation in check and keeps your nervous system working properly. Vitamin D also helps absorb calcium to keep your bones strong, can help support weight loss and improve mood.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Up to 50% of the population is at risk for a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased susceptibility to infection. What does a vitamin D deficiency feel like?
- Fatigue and general feeling of malaise
- Difficulty walking
- Bone pain, osteoporosis
- Muscle aches and overall weakness
Vitamin D in Food
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in a few foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. It is also produced endogenously when ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis.
Few foods naturally contain vitamin D. The flesh of fatty fish (such as trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best sources of vitamin D. Check out this table for a list of foods that contain vitamin D.
Vitamin D is crucial for immune response
Vitamin D plays a critical role in promoting immune response. It has both anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties, and is crucial for the activation your immune response.
Vitamin D is so important for immune function that low levels of vitamin D have been associated with increased susceptibility to infection, disease, and immune-related disorders.
Low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of respiratory diseases, including
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Viral and bacterial respiratory infections
What’s more, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to decreased lung function, which may affect your body’s ability to fight respiratory infections.
Can Vitamin D Lower Your Risk of COVID-19?
Vitamin D is important for immune system health and may help reduce the risk of contracting the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
While there’s currently no cure for COVID-19, some research shows that having sufficient levels of vitamin D can help keep your immune system healthy and may protect against respiratory illness.
Vitamin D and COVID-19 Studies
Currently, there’s no cure or treatment for COVID-19, however, a recent study has determined that a blood level of vitamin D of at least 30 ng/mL seemed to help reduce the likelihood of adverse clinical outcomes and death in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.
Hospital data of 235 patients with COVID-19 were analyzed. In patients over 40, those who had adequate levels of vitamin D were 51.5% less likely to have adverse outcomes, including becoming unconscious, hypoxia, and death, as compared to vitamin D-deficient patients.
Additionally, some studies have indicated that vitamin D supplements can enhance immune response and protect against respiratory infections overall.
A recent review that included 11,321 people from 14 countries demonstrated that supplementing with vitamin D decreased the risk of acute respiratory infections in both those who had deficient and adequate levels of vitamin D.
Although research in this area is ongoing, it’s important to understand that taking supplemental vitamin D alone can’t protect you from developing COVID-19.
However, being deficient in vitamin D may increase your vulnerability to infection and disease by impeding immune function.
This is especially worrisome given that many people are deficient in vitamin D, especially older individuals who are most at risk of developing serious COVID-19-related complications.
It’s a good idea to have your vitamin D levels tested to determine whether you have a deficiency in this important nutrient. This is particularly important during winter months.
At Vivify, our doctors and nurse practitioners will test your Vitamin D levels and consult with you before administering a Vitamin D booster shot.