The Importance of Vitamin D For The Immune System

The Importance of Vitamin D For The Immune System

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient compound, which plays a major role in the body’s overall health. It comes in the form of Vitamin D1, D2, and D3 and is best known for being a much-needed nutrient that aids in calcium absorption, the building block for strong, healthy bones.  Sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” Vitamin D may help to improve your mood, cognition and pain tolerance.

The Importance Of Vitamin D

The sun’s rays are an essential source of light and warmth for not only the human body, but also the living earth it self. Exposure to sunlight can help ensure proper circulation of vitamin D within the body via the skin. Vitamin D is also necessary for proper calcium absorption, improved dental health, and it plays a role in brain development. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with increased risk of hypertension, infectious diseases like influenza or tuberculosis, and several autoimmune disorders.

Unbeknownst to many, the consumption of Vitamin D can also help your body defend itself from harmful, foreign organisms. It has the ability to either amplify or limit the body’s innate and adaptive immune responders, depending on the amount of the nutrient is absorbed into the body or the lack there of.

Vitamin D Recommendations FDA Endocrine Society
  Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) Daily Allowance
Infants (0-12 months) 400 IU 400-1000 IU
Children (1-18 years) 600-800 IU 600-1000 IU
Adults (19+ years) 800 IU 1500-2000 IU
Pregnancy and Lactation 600 IU 1500-2000 IU
    4000-6000 IU*

*4000-6000 IU/day is a mother’s required intake if the infant is not receive 400 IU/day.

Mushrooms And Vitamin D

The common thought is that vitamin D can only be absorbed by being in the sun, via supplementation, or by eating fortified foods. Little did you know that vitamin D is present in the produce section of markets in the form of mushrooms. Wild mushrooms have been extensively studied for their effects on combatting a wide range of illnesses. Maitake, Portobello, oyster, shiitake, chanterelle, and morel mushrooms all contain vitamin D, and the more sunlight they are exposed to while growing, the more vitamin D they contain. Similar to humans, mushrooms convert a precursor to vitamin D, ergosterol, into vitamin D2 when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D2 differs from the vitamin D3 found in animal products, but nutritionists confirm that this form is bioavailable and absorbable.

Vitamin D And The Immune System

The immune system is a vital component in maintaining your well-being, given that it is your body’s natural defense against sickness and disease. Vitamin D has been known to combat infections, help the body remain balanced during a cold or flu, and energize the enzymes in white blood cells.

In 2009, the National Institute of Health (NIH) warned that people with low levels of vitamin D had higher risks of frequent colds and influence. The NIH, after conducting clinical trials of Vitamin D supplements in 2017, found that it helps reduce the risk of developing respiratory infections in approximately 42% of the people with a low baseline level of Vitamin D.

The conclusion of the clinical trials suggests daily or weekly consumption of Vitamin D, in low doses, is much more effective in treating respiratory problems as opposed to high amounts in a short period of time. Now more than ever, it’s important to take as much precaution as possible in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Daily or weekly supplementation of vitamin D is great way to keep the immune system balanced during high health risk circumstances such as the cold and flu season.