Skip to main content

Vitamin D

vitamin d supplement through Biotech

As the coronavirus pandemic continues 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 a re 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.

Why is vitamin D important?

You've probably heard that vitamin Dis 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.

One of the main functions of vitamin Dis 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 it 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.

How to get enough vitamin D

The recommendation for vitamin D for a healthy adult 5000 iu's (international units) every day. There are three ways to get vitamin D: through food (since it is naturally occurring in some food), from direct sun exposure on your skin, and through supplements. But to ensure you are getting the correct amount everyday supplementation is recommended.

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 [a form of vitamin DJ are also associated with higher susceptibility to infections like tuberculosis, influenza, and viral infections of the upper respiratory tract," Tolentino says.

Food sources of vitamin D

"Vitamin D naturally occurs in egg yolks, beef liver, fatty fish like salmon, tuna, swordfish or sardines and fish liver oils. Unfortunately, vitamin D isn't naturally occurring in lots of foods, which is why some foods have vitamin D added to them. Vitamin Dis added to cereals, dairy and plant milks and orange juice," Tolentino says.

Even though you can get vitamin D from food, it's difficult to get enough from that source on its own since the amount of vitamin Din most foods is pretty small. "It's not that easy to get your daily recommended intake of vitamin D through food. We're just not eating large quantities of most of these foods. How much beef liver or sardines are you realistically eating every day?" Tolentino says.

Sunlight exposure and vitamin D

Vitamin Dis associated with the sun for a reason -- your body can produce its own vitamin D when you expose your skin to the sun for a period of time. About 15 minutes of sun exposure per day is what many experts say is sufficient to make vitamin D. This means you want to have a good amount of skin (75%) uncovered by clothing or sunscreen (like your arms and legs) since those things inhibit Vitamin D production, according to Tolentino.

How much sun you should get is also a bit complicated. "UVB radiation from the sun triggers vitamin D synthesis in our bodies, but there are a lot of factors to consider here," says Tolentino She continues, "Where you live (your geographic location), sunscreen usage and coverage and the amount of melanin in your skin can all impact vitamin D absorption. That makes it really difficult to provide generalized guidelines for the appropriate a mount of sun exposure. What may be a sufficient or healthy amount of time in the sun with no sun protection for one person might not be advisable for another person."

Vitamin D supplements

Because it's hard to get enough vitamin D from food, and you may be spending most of your time inside, many people need to supplement to get enough vitamin D. "Vitamin D supplementation may be the most practical solution for many people, especially if you live in the northern half of the country (latitudes above the 37th parallel north), have been advised not to venture out in the sun for long periods of time -- especially without sun protection due to skin cancer risk, or have a diet lacking in the foods listed above," Tolentino says.

You can find vitamin 0 in many different types of supplements, including multivitamins and vitamin 0 capsules. "Vitamin 0 supplements generally come in two forms -- 03 and 02. 02 is a form derived from plants and is the form often found in fortified foods. 03 is the vitamin 0 naturally produced by our bodies and is the type found in animal sources," Tolentino says.

Tolentino prefers 03 with vitamin 1<2, since she says K2 works synergistically with 03. "Research suggests that vitamin 03 -- the type of vitamin 0 naturally produced in the human body- tends to raise blood concentrations more, and maintain those levels for a longer period of time." She also says a liquid vitamin 0 in a tincture form that includes fat (like coconut oil or MCT) can be helpful since a liquid supplement can be taken under the tongue, which speeds absorption. Since vitamin 0 is fat soluble, taking it with a fat source helps the body absorb it better, too.