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Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that our bodies need for healthy function. But what is the connection between vitamin D and the immune system? Read more.
D vitamins are fat-soluble vitamins, which the body can produce naturally when it is exposed to sunlight, hence the term “the sunshine vitamin”. You will be able to get vitamin D from most foods in your diet as well as taking supplements to ensure your body receives enough of the vitamin during the colder and less sunny months. Vitamin D have many important functions in the body, among some of the most important is the absorption of calcium and also helping to facilitate the normal function of the immune system. But what is the connect between vitamin D and the immune system? Let’s find out.
Vitamin D is a necessary vitamin to aid and support the healthy functioning of the immune system, it contains both anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties, and is vital for the protection, and function of the immune system defences.
Vitamin D is essentially a hormone that is found in most cells and bodily tissue. The vitamin also has abilities to enhance the function of the immune cells, which include T cells and macrophages. These protect the body against pathogens. In most healthy people the T cells play a vital role in helping to fight and protect the body against infections and disease, however, in those that have an autoimmune disease, these cells begin to attack the bodies tissue.
There have been studies conducted to show that vitamin D works as an immune booster, aiding the immune response and protecting it from harsh molecules. The way in which vitamin D does this is by interacting with vitamin D receptors attached to innate immune cells in the body, this is the bodies first-line of defence against any foreign pathogens.
The vitamin plays such a vital role in the protection of the immune system, and ensures that the immune system isn’t weak, that a low level of the vitamin has been associated with an increased susceptibility to disease, infection and any immune-related disorders. The vitamin binds itself to receptors that are located within the immune cells, known as neutrophiles, macrophages and natural killer cells. This then prompts the cells to produce peptides that contain antiviral properties, which then begin to fight off any infections or diseases. Thus, proving its immune-strengthening properties and enabling the immune system to maintain a healthy and established function.
Vitamin D is critical for the healthy function of the immune system, and a deficiency of vitamin D can compromise the immunes response to infection and disease.
There are a few signs that you will be able to spot if you think you are deficient in vitamin D. A deficiency isn’t common, but can appear in those who don’t eat enough vitamin D rich foods, or in the colder months when people tend to spend more time inside.
A trusted healthcare professional will be able to diagnose a vitamin D deficiency by performing a simple blood test. If you think you may be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency and the symptoms mentioned above sound familiar, then you should contact your GP.
As with any vitamin supplements, there are always risks of taking too much, and having it stored in the body. The over consumption of vitamin D is very unlikely through diet or over exposure to sunshine, it will only be possible through supplements.
Having too much vitamin D can lead to an increase in the bloods calcium levels and can result in:
Vitamin D has many important roles to play in the body, including the promotion of the health of our immune systems. There has been research to show that supplementing with vitamin D can help to protect the body from respiratory infections. However, when taking a supplement, it is important to ensure you are not consuming too much, and that you should always seek the advice from a medical professional before taking new supplements alongside your diet.
That’s our guide on vitamin D and the immune system. Why not explore Vitamin C and what it does, next?