Protecting the immune system is vital during these concerning times. The immune system consists of a complex collection of cells, processes and chemicals that constantly defends the body against invading pathogens, including viruses, toxins and bacteria. Keeping the immune system healthy is key to preventing infections and disease. Making healthy lifestyle choices are the most important and taking supplementation when needed. When it comes to supplements, vitamin D is an absolute must in order to keep the body operating healthy, but also to help prevent respiratory infections in the case of a coronavirus infection.
“Vitamin D deficiency may affect the immune system as vitamin D plays an immunomodulation role, enhancing innate immunity by up-regulating the expression and secretion of antimicrobial peptides which boosts mucosal defences.
“Furthermore, a recent meta-analysis has reported a protective effect of vitamin D supplementation on respiratory tract infections.
“Therefore, in this commentary we reviewed the applicability of such intervention and implementation in settings with limited resources based on these four systematic reviews and meta-analysis.”
In a study with US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the role of vitamin D in helping with a respiratory infection was investigated.
The study noted: “Vitamin D appears capable of inhibiting pulmonary inflammatory responses while enhancing innate defence mechanisms against respiratory pathogens. Population-based studies showing an association between circulating vitamin D levels and lung function provide strong justification for randomized controlled clinical trials of vitamin D supplementation in patients with respiratory diseases to assess both efficacy and optimal dosage.”
The study found that exposure to sunlight has been known for more than 100 years to help with the treatment of tuberculosis due to vitamin D’s anti-microbial activity and shows that having an adequate amount of vitamin D reduced the bacterial load from respiratory infections.
Vitamin D helps with respiratory inflammation, asthma and influenza and could help protect you against viral infections.
The association of UK dieticians said: “Vitamin D works with calcium and phosphorous for healthy bones, muscles and teeth. It is also important in protecting muscle strength and preventing rickets, osteomalacia and falls.
“In normal circumstances, sunshine, not food, is where most of your vitamin D comes from. So even a healthy, well-balanced diet that provides all the vitamins and nutrients you need, is unlikely to provide enough vitamin D if you aren’t able to get enough sun. Now we are in spring, if you can, you should seek to spend some time outdoors in the sunshine.
“However, if you are having to self-isolate or if you are unable to go outside, you should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms to ensure a healthy vitamin D status.