FAQ: Vitamin D & Immune Health

FAQ: Vitamin D & Immune Health
Alex Webb

The stronger your immune system, the better you are at fighting off viruses and infections. Vitamin D, a.k.a the sunshine vitamin, plays a vital role in boosting your immune system. 

There are a variety of lifestyle factors that can negatively impact your immune system. Such as; 

  • A poor diet (regularly consuming processed foods)

  • Smoking (worsens circulation and oxygen levels)

  • Excessive alcohol consumption (alcohol weakens the immune system by impairing immune cells in key organs)

  • Stress (corticosteroid suppresses the effectiveness of the immune system)

  • Sedentary lifestyle (too much sitting is linked to diabetes, cancer & heart disease)

  • Aging (reduced production of T cells)

  • A lack of sunlight exposure (low vitamin D levels) 

Therefore, to make your immune system stronger, you should avoid these things. However, many of us can’t or choose not to live this idealistic lifestyle. 

Vitamin D aka “the sunshine vitamin” and immune health 

  • Our body converts sunlight to vitamin D naturally. A lack of sunlight to skin exposure reduces our body’s ability to generate vitamin D and therefore weakens our immune system

  • Vitamin D plays a vital role in boosting immune response, as it possesses anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties, and activates your defense response when it’s required. 

  • Research has shown that having healthy levels of vitamin D strengthens your immune system and protects against respiratory illness.

Coronavirus and vitamin D: Will boosting my vitamin D levels help prevent or cure COVID-19?

The immune-boosting abilities of Vitamin D have led many people to think of this nutrient as a COVID-19 prevention strategy. However, there’s currently no cure for COVID-19, and the only proven prevention measures are social distancing and proper hygiene practices.

Who should supplement Vitamin D?

The NHS and Government recommend for everyone, particularly those at risk of lower vitamin D levels, to supplement vitamin D, especially during autumn and winter months

Am I at risk of vitamin D deficiency? You are at high risk of low vitamin D levels if you;

  • Live in colder climates, such as the UK, and northern Europe. 
  • Spend most of your daytime indoors
  • Regularly wear sunscreen (advised to reduce skin cancer risk)
  • Are elderly. The elderly tend to experience less sunlight exposure and have a reduced ability to convert sunlight to vitamin D. Research has shown that even in sunny climates, almost half of older people have suboptimal vitamin D levels. 

Signs of a weak immune system. What happens when your vitamin D is low? Here are a few symptoms; 

  • Bone and back pain

  • Impaired wound healing

  • Increased susceptibility to viral & bacterial infection

  • Increased susceptibility to immune-related disorders

  • COPD

  • Asthma 

  • Tuberculosis

  • Decreased lung function, affecting your body’s ability to fight respiratory infections.

How much vitamin D should I take and when?

  • It is recommended to supplement 1,000 to 4,000 IU of vitamin D per day, as this is sufficient for most populations. A serving of SUPER D3 by PNI contains 5,000 IU ensuring effectiveness. 

  • It is also important to note that vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, therefore must be taken with food to be absorbed. However, each serving of PNI SUPER D3 comes with 100mg of MCT Oil (derived from coconut oil), enabling you to take this supplement at any time of the day. 

  • It is not advised to take this supplement in the late evening or at night as it can interfere with melatonin and disturb your sleep

What else does vitamin D do for your body?

Vitamin D is essential for the regulation of calcium and phosphorus and is vital for proper bone and muscle health and structure

Summary: Vitamin D and Immunity 

Healthy vitamin D levels are a major component of a healthy immune system. If you don’t get enough sunlight due to working in an office or if you are elderly, it is advised to supplement vitamin D. There is currently no evidence to suggest that vitamin D supplementation will prevent or reduce the symptoms associated with COVID-19. However, vitamin D has been shown to reduce the risk of contraction of viral and bacterial infections, as well as aiding recovery. PNI SUPER D3 is the perfect supplement to boost your vitamin D stores

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