What is Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin just like vitamin A, that we discussed a few weeks ago. Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients available to us. It is also very different from most of the minerals and vitamins that we get in our diet. Vitamin D might be a vitamin by name but in reality, it works more closely to a hormone – or as a ‘master hormone’ that regulates the release of many other hormones (including testosterone and melatonin).
Vitamin D Benefits:
Vitamin D has more recently been shown to be one of the most important nutrients when it comes to our immune system. Its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties support immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity.
Vitamin D is a nutrient your body needs for building and maintaining healthy bones. That's because your body can only absorb calcium, the primary component of bone, when vitamin D is present. Vitamin D also regulates many other cellular functions in your body.
Vitamin D plays a very crucial role when it comes to the development of the fetus in the womb.
Vitamin D helps with the alleviation of inflammation and this means that it can also help with brain fog, and arthritis.
Getting enough vitamin D may also play a role in helping to keep you healthy by protecting against the following conditions and possibly helping to treat them. Heart disease and high blood pressure, Diabetes, Infections and immune system disorders, Falls in older people, Some types of cancer, such as colon, prostate and breast cancers, Multiple sclerosis.
From the mayo clinic research on vitamin D use for specific conditions shows:
Cancer. Findings on the benefits of vitamin D for cancer prevention are mixed. More studies are needed to determine whether vitamin D supplementation may reduce the risk of certain cancers.
Cognitive health. Research shows that low levels of vitamin D in the blood are associated with cognitive decline.
Inherited bone disorders. Vitamin D supplements can be used to help treat inherited disorders resulting from an inability to absorb or process vitamin D, such as familial hypophosphatemia.
Multiple sclerosis. Research suggests that long-term vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of multiple sclerosis.
Osteomalacia. Vitamin D supplements are used to treat adults with severe vitamin D deficiency, resulting in loss of bone mineral content, bone pain, muscle weakness and soft bones.
Osteoporosis. Studies suggest that people who get enough vitamin D and calcium in their diets can slow bone mineral loss, help prevent osteoporosis and reduce bone fractures.
Psoriasis. Applying vitamin D or a topical preparation that contains a vitamin D compound to the skin can treat plaque-type psoriasis in some people.
Rickets. This rare condition develops in children with vitamin D deficiency. Supplementing with vitamin D can prevent and treat the problem.
You can get vitamin D in a variety of ways. These can include:
1.Being exposed to the sun. About 15-20 minutes three days per week is usually sufficient.
You should still take some precautions – especially in the summer, at high altitudes, if you have fairer skin, and when other factors warrant concern. Finding a healthy balance is key.
2.Through the foods you eat.
Fortunately, vitamin D can be obtained from sources other than the sun. There are a wide number of foods that are good sources of vitamin D. Many more are also fortified with vitamin D to make them even healthier. Means Vitamin D has been added to the food. In fact, newer food nutrition labels show the amount of vitamin D contained in a particular food item. Vitamin D content is measured in International Units (IUs) per serving.
Here are the vitamin D All-star foods:
Cod liver oil- will provide you with 450 IU or 75% of your daily requirement with just a single teaspoon. It also is a source of omega 3 fatty acid, which is a type of fat that can be used to form cell walls. This makes the cells walls more permeable and flexible and that can not only prevent damage but also improve the communication between cells. In the brain, it can speed up and strengthen synaptic transmissions, enhancing focus, memory and general brain function considerably
Salmon- half a fillet will get you 172% of your DV ore 1035 IU. It is also high in omega 3 fatty acid!
Tuna- is a great option for your omega 3 fatty acid requirements and for your vitamin D. You’ll get 77% of your DV from a can of tuna (171G) and that amounts to 458IU. It’s also a very lean source of protein.
Ham- Eat one cup of ham and you’ll get to benefit from 21% of your DV (129 IU).
Orange juice fortified with vitamin D- orange juice does not naturally contain vitamin D but it is often fortified with it. You can expect to get about 17% of your DV from a single cup, or 100IU.
Milk, vitamin-fortified- Milk is an example of a food that fortified with additional vitamin D. Milk is also a good source of magnesium and calcium. Much needed for your bones and teeth.
Yogurt- While the amount of vitamin D added will of course vary, it is normal to expect to get around 88 IU or 15% of your DV from a regular yogurt container. Yogurt will provide you with more calcium and magnesium but also a great helping of beneficial bacteria. These live cultures of ‘friendly bacteria’ will help to produce important digestive enzymes to help you digest and absorb your food. They can kill off bad bacteria to prevent infections.
Other sources: Sardines, Beef Liver, Egg yolk, Cereal, fortified with 10% of the daily value of vitamin D,
3.Through nutritional supplements.
Taking a multivitamin with vitamin D may help improve bone health. The recommended daily amount of vitamin D is 400 international units (IU) for children up to age 12 months, 600 IU for people ages 1 to 70 years, and 800 IU for people over 70 years.
RDA specific breakdown:
People by age Recommended dietary allowance (IU/day) Upper-level intake (IU/day)
Infants 0-6 months* 400 1,000
Infants 6-12 months* 400 1,500
Children 1-3 years old 600 2,500
Children 4-8 years old 600 3,000
People 9-70 years old 600 4,000
People over 70 years old 800 4,000
Females 14-50 years old, pregnant/lactating 600 4,000
*Refers to adequate intake vs recommended dietary allowance of the other age groups.
Despite all this, at least 10% of the US population is deficient in vitamin D. The reason so many of us are deficient is simply that so many of us work office jobs or otherwise don’t get enough time in the sun.
Without vitamin D your bones can become soft, thin and brittle. Insufficient vitamin D is also connected to osteoporosis. If you don't get enough vitamin D through sunlight or a food source, you might need vitamin D supplements as I stated.
Taken in appropriate doses, vitamin D is generally considered safe.
However, taking too much vitamin D in the form of supplements can be harmful. Children age 9 years and older, adults, and pregnant and breastfeeding women who take more than 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D might experience:
Nausea and vomiting, Poor appetite and weight loss, Constipation, Weakness, Confusion and disorientation, Heart rhythm problems, Kidney stones and kidney damage.
Do not take higher-than-recommended doses of vitamin D without first discussing it with your doctor.
Is Vitamin D good for your immune system?
Vitamin D enhances the pathogen-fighting effects of monocytes and macrophages — white blood cells that are important parts of your immune defense — and decreases inflammation, which helps promote immune response. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164750/
Many people are deficient in this important vitamin, which may negatively affect immune function. In fact, low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory tract infections, including influenza and allergic asthma. . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3738984/
SUMMARY: Vitamin D is essential for immune function. Healthy levels of this vitamin may help lower your risk for respiratory infections.
Dr. Adrian F. Gombart, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics, Linus Pauling Institute
Oregon State University
Reduces risk of autoimmune diseases
• Rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease
• Reduce risk of cytokine storm during acute respiratory distress syndrome
Reduces risk from infectious diseases
Vitamin D and covid 19
Effects of Vitamin D on COVID-19 Infection and Prognosis: A Systematic Review / Published online 2021 Jan 7
National Library of Medicine- National Center of Biotechnology Information
Vitamin D status is related to risks of influenza and respiratory tract infections. Vitamin D has direct antiviral effects primarily against enveloped viruses, and coronavirus is an enveloped virus. The 2019 coronavirus disease had a high mortality rate and impacted the whole population of the planet, with severe acute respiratory syndrome the principal cause of death. Vitamin D can adequately modulate and regulate the immune and oxidative response to infection with COVID-19.
Most of the articles demonstrated that vitamin D status in the blood can determine the chances of catching coronavirus, coronavirus severity, and mortality. Therefore, keeping appropriate blood levels of vitamin D through supplementation or through sunshine exposure is recommended for the public to be able to cope with the pandemic.
Funding Statement: We did not receive any funding for this review.