Researchers from Belgium published an article in the August 2010 edition of the journal Current Opinion in Pharmacology discussing the mechanisms by which vitamin D positively impacts the immune system.
Namely, the researchers point out that vitamin D is an immunomodulator of various elements of the immune system, such as monocytes, macrophages, dendritic cells (DCs), as well as T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes.
What does this mean?
It means that vitamin D is thought to be responsible for the homeostasis (stability to function properly) of the immune system. Or, put differently, it impacts these elements of the immune system to ensure they are expressing themselves properly.
If an element is “underexpressing” itself, it helps to increase it (immunostimulators). If an element is “overexpressing” itself, it helps to decrease it (immunosuppresors).
The researchers point out that several studies have linked inadequate vitamin D levels to a higher susceptibility of disorders like chronic infections and autoimmune diseases.
What does this mean for us?
Does this mean that vitamin D is the ultimate cure-all for all that might ail or tax our immune systems?
Of course not.
Does it mean it might be a vital component to the proper functioning of our immune systems?
Very possibly, yes.
It is important to note that the main way human beings get vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight. If you are a person who does not get regular exposure to sunlight, or if the winter months are among us and it is just not possible, then supplementation is something to look into.
Fortunately, vitamin D supplementation is typically inexpensive when compared to many other supplements of good quality.
So, if you are concerned about the functioning of your immune system and preventing infections, talk to your doctor today about your vitamin D levels and whether or not it is appropriate for you.
Also be sure to talk to your doctor about how much to take for your needs and how to do so safely.
And, as always, here’s to your health!
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