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Vitamin D: Why it is so essential for immune response?

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Can quarantine interfere with vitamin D uptake and metabolism in humans and suppress the essential immune response to infections?

Vitamin D is a nutrient that is required for human health. Here’s a quick rundown of what it is, how much we need it, how it functions, and how its absence impacts the immune system.

Vitamin D

The vital production of vitamin D in the human body occurs with natural exposure to sunlight during the summer months.

The Minimal Erythemicdose Dose (MED) is the amount of sun exposure that causes the skin to become somewhat pink, followed by the production of 10,000-20,000 IU vitamin D into the bloodstream within 24 hours.

Vitamin D needs in the winter are fulfilled by stored vitamin D from summer exposure. For bone health, tissue health, and immunological function, an average of 30-70 ng/mL is ideal.

Vitamin D is required for the absorption of calcium and phosphorous from the intestines and therefore plays an essential role in bone remineralization. It also impacts the skin, pancreas, glandular function, and immunological system, as well as regulating blood clotting and nerve and muscle function.

Why Vitamin D is so crucial for Immune response?

Vitamin D metabolism is crucial to immune cell function because immune cells such as B cells, T cells, and antigen-presenting cells all have vitamin D receptors. Vitamin D promotes innate and adaptive immune responses by playing a dual function.

People who don’t get enough vitamin D are more likely to become sick.

Environmental variables including limited sunshine exposure particularly in winter, being sedentary indoors, residing at higher latitudes, sunscreen usage, and gastrectomy may hamper vitamin D metabolism (surgical removal of all or part of the stomach).

A number of enzymes are also reliant on vitamin D metabolism. The enzyme 7-dehydrocholesterol reductase may convert 7-dehydrocholesterol to cholesterol, possibly raising the amount of circulating vitamin D. As a result, darker-skinned individuals may be more likely to suffer from poor immunity, frequent infections, and an increased risk of cancer.

People with kidney or liver problems are at greater risk of suffering from deficiencies in the vitamin D pathway. Inadequate levels of vitamin D may worsen a condition and raise the risk of consequences. It is also true that some infections interfere with vitamin D metabolism as well.

Natural sunlight or Vitamin D supplements?

Unlike vitamin D generated by the skin, vitamin D from supplements and fortificants has the potential to accumulate to dangerous amounts in the body.

Vitamin D generated by the skin stays in the bloodstream for 2-3 times longer than vitamin D taken as a supplement. When used as a supplement, 100 IU vitamin D raises plasma levels by less than 1 ng/mL.

Image Credit: Getty

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