Vitamin D Crucial To Activating Immune Defenses
- University of Copenhagen
- Scientists have found that vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin – the killer cells of the immune system — T cells — will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body. The research team found that T cells first search for vitamin D in order to activate and if they cannot find enough of it will not complete the activation process.
Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have discovered that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin, the killer cells of the immune system — T cells — will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body.
For T cells to detect and kill foreign pathogens such as clumps of bacteria or viruses, the cells must first be ‘triggered’ into action and ‘transform’ from inactive and harmless immune cells into killer cells that are primed to seek out and destroy all traces of a foreign pathogen.
The researchers found that the T cells rely on vitamin D in order to activate and they would remain dormant, ‘naïve’ to the possibility of threat if vitamin D is lacking in the blood.
Chemical Reaction that Enables Activation
Activating and Deactivating the Immune System
Vitamin D And Antigen Presentation
In a similar fashion to macrophages, DCs can be divided into distinct sub-types, specifically myeloid DCs and plasmacytoid DCs . These cells exhibit different cytokine and chemokine profiles and exert complementary effects on T cells mDCs are efficient promoters of naïve T cell function , whilst pDCs are more closely associated with attenuation of T cell function . In vitro, 1,25D preferentially regulates mDCs, with associated suppression of naïve T cell activation . However mDC and pDC express similar levels of VDR, so tolerogenic pDC may also respond to 1,25D, possibly via local, intracrine mechanisms . Alternatively, 1,25D generated by pDCs may not act to regulate pDC maturation but may, instead, act in a paracrine fashion on VDR-expressing T-cells. The ability of vitamin D to influence the differentiation and function of DCs provides another layer of innate immune function that complements its antibacterial properties. However, this interaction between 1,25D and DC will also have downstream effects on cells that interact with APCs, namely cells from the adaptive immune system.
The Impact Of Vitamin D Deficiency On The Immune System: In Vitro And In Vivo Data
Epidemiological data link vitamin D deficiency to a defective functioning of the immune system with an increased risk of infections and a predisposition to autoimmune disease .
In particular, in the case of infections, associations have been described between 25-D3 deficiency and an increased risk for infections with mycobacterium tuberculosis and respiratory tract infections . A large systematic review showed that vitamin D supplementation was protective against acute respiratory tract infections in a 25-D3 deficient population, especially in those receiving daily or weekly supplementation . However, in children this protective effect could not be reproduced . The mechanism by which vitamin D prevents respiratory tract infections is based on in vitro research that shows that 1,25-2D3 results in increased expression of cathelicidin, regulation of cytokine release, and suppression of the adaptive response by boosting the innate immune system . In children and adults vitamin D3 as an adjunct to antibiotics did not have an additional beneficial effect in the treatment of acute bacterial pneumonia, although there was evidence that there was a trend towards faster resolution of radiographic manifestations in those with low baseline 25-D3 levels .
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Supplements And Immunity: Facts Vs Fiction
Most people have been told at least once to take vitamin C to speed up recovery after catching a cold or the flu. But do supplements help boost immunity? And if so, which supplements should people prioritize? This article takes a look at a few of the most popular recommendations for immunity-boosting supplements and highlights the truth behind the claims.
Vitamin D Can Help You Lose Weight
Dr. Boyd points out that obesity is a known risk factor for low vitamin D levelswhich means more vitamin D may help with weight loss. One 2009 study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that, in overweight or obese women with low calcium levels, those who took a daily dose of calcium paired with vitamin D were more successful shedding pounds than those who took a placebo supplement, due to an appetite-suppressing effect of the combination.
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Overwhelming Evidence Supports Vitamin Ds Immune Function Benefits
Interest in the potential immune health benefits of the sunshine vitamin have increased in recent weeks and months: Vitamin D was one of several nutrients flagged in a recent review for a well-functioning immune system as an important factor to protect against viral infections. The paper, led by Prof Philip Calder from the University of Southampton in England, also cited vitamin C, zinc, and DHA omega-3 , 1181 doi: 10.3390/nu12041181).
In addition, researchers from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland recently stated that vitamin D deficiency is suggested to play an important role in the severity of COVID-19 infections.
Writing in Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the Trinity College scientists stated: the evidence supporting a protective effect of vitamin D against severe COVID19 disease is very suggestive, a substantial proportion of the population in the Northern Hemisphere will currently be vitamin D deficient, and supplements, for example, 1000 international units per day are very safe.
It is time for governments to strengthen recommendations for vitamin D intake and supplementation, particularly when under lockdown.
Vitamin D For Respiratory Diseases
Vitamin D deficiency may affect the immune system as it plays an “immunomodulation role” in enhancing innate immunity.
A report published by the World Health Organization analyses several studies conducted to examine Vitamin D impact on acute respiratory tract infections
“Overall, there was a significant beneficial effect of vitamin D supplementation in decreasing the risk of experiencing at least one acute respiratory tract infection,” the report quoted from one study.
“The reduction of episodes of respiratory tract infections was significantly lower in vitamin D supplementation group compared to the control group,” another study said.
In its analysis, the report said, “Three of the reviews consistently showed a benefit of vitamin D supplementation for preventing respiratory tract infection mainly in children younger than 16 years. Two of the reviews also reported that the protective effect is observed only when single daily doses are used but not when bolus doses are given. One review further showed that doses of 800 IU or less were protective of respiratory tract infections, but not higher doses. However, this protective role was not seen for pneumonia, as reported by Yakoob et al. from only two trials.”
It also noticed that more trials testing the different level of dose and intervals are needed before implementing this at a population level.
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How Does Vitamin D Boost Immune Function
The immune system is an incredibly complex protective mechanism, but to simplify, we can divide the immune system into two main categories: innate immunity, and adaptive immunity.
Innate immunity is our nonspecific defense mechanism that activates in the presence of an invading pathogen. So, even if you have never been exposed to a virus or pathogen, your body has a built-in ability to protect itself from an invader. This part of your immune system is your first line of defense against any type of new type of germswhether it is bacteria, viruses, and fungi. And its super important to be sure this line of defense is strong.
The other type of immune response is your adaptive immune response. This immune response is active against pathogens that you have previously encountered. The body recognizes, adapts and attacks specific invaders much more efficiently.
In the case of brand new types of influenza strains, the body has not had a chance to develop specific antibodies against it yet. So, this is where we call in the powers of our innate immune system to protect us. Vitamin D works to strengthen this innate immune system response.
Many different studies have associated vitamin D with its power to fight infection. One report looked at almost 19,000 people and found that the individuals with the lower levels of vitamin D were more likely to report upper respiratory tract infections, than those with sufficient levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D Strengthens Your Bones
Vitamin D is famous for its bone-building and strengthening powers. vitamin D promotes absorption of calcium in your gut, which ultimately allows for normal mineralization of your bones,Jackie Newgent, RDN, culinary nutritionist and author of The Clean & Simple Diabetes Cookbook, tells Health. Basically, the calcium that benefits your bones wouldn’t be able to do its job without vitamin D. You need vitamin D for bone growthand to prevent bones from becoming brittle. When teamed with calcium, it can help prevent osteoporosis, a disease that signifies that the density and quality of bone are reduced, she adds.
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Nourish Your Immune System With The Ingredients It Needs Most
Your immune system is incredibly complex, intelligent and effective at protecting you against foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. The aim of your immune health toolkit is to help you to feed and nourish it with the ingredients it needs most to function at its optimal best. Start with Vitamin D, work your way through at your own pace and know that every little thing you do is worthwhile.
Vitamin D Is Crucial For Immune Health
The surprising role it plays for your body’s immune system and how it can ward off respiratory infections.
Vitamin D is important for many functions in your body, not just your bone health.
The global coronavirus pandemic definitely left people wondering how to keep themselves well. You know that social distancing, working from home and staying inside in general is one way to protect yourself — but are there other measures you can take?
Boosting your immune system is one of the best things you can do because it is your body’s key defense when it comes to fighting a virus. Even if you are exposed to a virus, the coronavirus or others, if your immune system is strong, you have a better chance of not getting sick. Vitamin C is a popular choice for supporting immunity, but another key nutrient for your immune system is vitamin D. Once thought as the vitamin for strong bones, vitamin D actually does a lot more for your body — including support your immune system.
Studies suggest that vitamin D can help prevent respiratory infections or reduce the severity of them, especially if you have a deficiency. They jury’s out on how exactly it can protect you from the coronavirus, but some medical experts recommend taking a vitamin D supplement to help boost your immune system.
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Discrepancy Between Promising In Vitro Data Animal Models And Human Intervention Trials
Whereas the hypothesis that vitamin D and its metabolites have a role in normal physiology as immune modulators is now well supported by in vitro studies showing that there is a dose-dependent effect of vitamin D or its metabolites and even synthetic analogues on many immune cell subsets, the translation of these observations into solid results in clinical trials has failed and the scientific community is starting to question the relevance of the in vitro observations and even interventions in animal models for human health. So, what is missing? Why are the in vitro observations not translated in success in clinical intervention trials?
Vitamin D Can Help Prevent Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes
While studies are not conclusive, vitamin D may be helpful for preventing both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, says Newgent. One such study, published in 2006 in the journal Diabetes Care, found that while vitamin D on its own did not effectively lower the risk of an overabundance of sugar in the blood, a combined daily intake of > 1,200 mg calcium and > 800 IU vitamin D could effectively lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.
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Impact Of Vitamin D On Immune Function: Lessons Learned From Genome
- 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Orthopedic Hospital Research Center, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
- 2Division of Dermatology, Department of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Vitamin D And Immune Health
Research shows that vitamin D plays an important role in immune function, and a deficiency in it is shown to increase your susceptibility to infection. “Some studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency is even associated with greater risk of self-reported upper respiratory tract infections,” Tolentino says. Further, “low serum levels of calcidiol are also associated with higher susceptibility to infections like tuberculosis, influenza, and viral infections of the upper respiratory tract,” Tolentino says.
One of the main functions of vitamin D is to help activate T cells, aka the “killer cells” in the body. T cells actually detect and destroy foreign pathogens — like viruses. “That makes vitamin D especially crucial for maintaining a functioning immune system that’s capable of fighting back foreign pathogens,” Tolentino says.
It’s important to know that although the coronavirus does affect the respiratory system, researchers and doctors know little about how vitamin D affects your risk of catching COVID-19 at this time. The best ways to reduce your risk of being infected with the coronavirus is to follow CDC and WHO guidelines, what your local officials say and to take care of your health as much as you can overall. Vitamin D is known to help the immune system, which is promising for protecting you from many different types of illness.
Exposing your skin to the sun is one way to get vitamin D.
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Vitamin D Supplements Boost Immunity In The Elderly
Immune responses and inflammation improve in older adults who take supplements, study shows.
Elderly individuals who are vitamin D deficient can significantly improve their immunity to the virus that causes shingles by taking supplements, a study has shown.
Lack of vitamin D contributes to the loss of immunity observed with age, the results suggest.
Supplementation of vitamin D could improve the general health of the elderly by boosting immunity to specific diseases and potentially increasing the efficacy of vaccines, the data suggests.
Findings from the study may explain in part why vitamin D insufficiency is associated with severe cases of Covid-19.
Can Vitamin D Lower Your Risk Of Covid
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a number of critical roles in your body.
This nutrient is especially important for immune system health, leaving many people wondering whether supplementing with vitamin D may help reduce the risk of contracting the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
While theres currently no cure for COVID-19, preventive measures like physical distancing and proper hygiene can protect you from contracting the virus.
Also, some research shows that having healthy levels of vitamin D can help keep your immune system healthy and may protect against respiratory illnesses in general.
A recent study indicated that patients hospitalized with COVID-19 who had sufficient levels of vitamin D had a decreased risk for adverse outcomes and death .
This article explains how vitamin D affects immune health and how supplementing with this nutrient may help protect against respiratory conditions.
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The Verdict On Vitamin D And Immunity
Vitamin D matters because it’s one of the key players that keeps our body functioning properly. Particularly because it allows us to absorb calcium, which we all know is essential for bone health. It also takes part in our muscle and nerve development and the upkeep of our immune system. However, to what extent it supports our immune system is still being studied.
There have been two critical studies on vitamin D and our immune system, one of which was a small one focusing on school-aged children. One group was given a vitamin D supplement, while another was not. Those who took the supplement were less likely to get the flu. An additional study of adults was not able to link vitamin D with fewer upper respiratory infections.
So what’s the verdict? It doesn’t hurt to take a vitamin D supplement, particularly if you’re deficient or if you suspect you could be deficient. When taken regularly as advised by your doctor, it’s only going to help your health. But it likely won’t prevent you from getting sick if you don’t follow other preventive measures, like eating a balanced diet, exercising, washing your hands regularly, and ensuring you are up-to-date on all vaccinations as recommended by the CDC.
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Why Is Vitamin D Important
Vitamin D is unique because it’s one of only two vitamins that your body can produce on its own , and you can also get it from other sources like food or supplements. It’s also technically a hormone that regulates how much calcium is in your blood. Unlike other vitamins, it requires conversion in the liver and kidneys to make it an active hormone. “Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that our bodies use to absorb and maintain healthy calcium and phosphorus levels, which are necessary to grow and maintain our bones,” Tolentino says.
You’ve probably heard that vitamin D is important for your bones, but it supports your body in other ways, too.”While we generally associate vitamin D with musculoskeletal health, it actually has several functions in the body, including the role it plays in immune function and reducing inflammation,” Tolentino says.
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