A new review has confirmed that there is an "indisputable relationship between vitamin D and the immune system." Research has shown that taking this vitamin has clear benefits for immune health.
There are many proven benefits for immune health from regular intake of "the sunshine vitamin. " It is one of the nutrients pointed out in a recent review to keep the immune system functioning properly. Among other things, vitamin D supports protection against viral infections.
The paper, led by Professor Philip Calder of the University of Southampton in England, also focused on other nutrients such as vitamin C, zinc and omega-3 DHA.
Vitamin D and COVID-19
Additionally, researchers from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland recently stated that vitamin D deficiency could play a role in the severity of COVID-19 infections.
In this regard, the Trinity College scientists stated that "the evidence supporting a protective effect of vitamin D against severe COVID-19 disease is highly suggestive." This is because, according to the authors, a substantial proportion of the population in the Northern Hemisphere will suffer from significant vitamin D deficiencies as a result of the disease.
Scientists have pointed out that data and results from the latest trials suggest that vitamin D supplements are very safe and may help. For example, 1000 international units (25 micrograms) a day can be very helpful. "It is time for governments to strengthen recommendations for vitamin D intake and supplementation," the authors have stated.
Benefits and comparisons
In animal models, vitamin D metabolites work best in a preventive setting, a period of time that is often missed in human trials. Therefore, the reviewers have added that more randomized, controlled trials are needed to investigate whether regular vitamin D supplementation can prevent or modify the course of inflammatory or autoimmune diseases in subjects at risk.
"For now, the bottom line on the effect of vitamin D on the immune system is that avoiding severe vitamin D deficiency improves immune health and decreases susceptibility to autoimmune diseases," the study authors revealed.
The sunshine vitamin
Vitamin D refers to two biologically inactive precursors: D3, also known as cholecalciferol, and D2, ergocalciferol. Both are transformed in the liver and kidneys into 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25 (OH) D), the non-active 'storage' form and the active form of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25 (OH) 2D).
Our body is capable of manufacturing vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, hence the name "the sun vitamin". In some countries the levels are so weak during the winter months that the body cannot produce this vitamin. For this reason, dietary supplements and fortified foods are considered by many to be the best way to increase vitamin D intake.
The weight of genetics
Nutrients has published a series of articles focusing on vitamin D, including one written by scientists at the University of Eastern Finland. It analyzes which genes related to immune health are regulated by 1,25 (OH) 2D3.
According to them in vitro tests, vitamin D targets genes with different immune support effects:
· Acute response to infection.
· General infection.
In this sense, the researchers suggest that the 15 prominent genes are the most relevant targets of vitamin D in the context of immunity. These can be selected as biomarkers in clinical practice for personalized diagnosis of the connection between vitamin D deficiency and diseases related to the immune system.
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