How Vitamin D Can Boost
Your Immune System

December 01, 2020

Power up with Vitamin D

A, B, C, D, E and K. They don’t take up the entire alphabet set. But vitamins give you nearly everything you need to keep your body running.
From increasing your bone strength and healing wounds to preventing fatal diseases, vitamins are the magic ingredients you need to heal and strengthen your body.
Since ‘immunity-boosting’  is the trending word these days, we thought vitamin D needs a special callout. Here’s why.

What’s so great about Vitamin D?

Firstly, vitamin D is fat-soluble; meaning they can dissolve in fats and oils and can be stored in your body for a longer period of time.
There are two different forms of vitamin D that your body needs: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.
The two variants help the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from your gut and improve your bone strength. Also, many of the body’s organs and tissues have receptors specifically to retain vitamin D.
The benefits of vitamin D do not stop with just bone strength. Vitamin D can be your best shield against several life-threatening diseases.

Your Best D-fence against Illnesses

Vitamin D can help build your resistance against many conditions and illnesses. Here are a few examples.
  • Cancer
    Studies have shown that vitamin D and Calcium can effectively reduce cancer cell growth and therefore prevent certain types of cancer
  • Heart Diseases
    Regular intake of adequate vitamin D can play a vital role in regulating the immune and inflammatory cells in your heart.
  • Multiple Sclerosis
    You don’t want your immune system to be too active. Research indicates that 40% of Multiple Sclerosis cases can be prevented by correcting vitamin D insufficiency
  • Premature death
    Yes, vitamins can keep the grim reaper at bay. Modest levels of vitamin D is associated with a 7% reduction in mortality from any cause

Given all the benefits, Vitamin D should be an essential part of your diet. So, what exactly should you consume to maintain a sufficient level of vitamin D?

Vital Diet Additions for Vitamin D

Here’s the catch about vitamin D. Sunlight can convert certain chemicals in your skin into a form of Vitamin D. Hence, its nickname ‘the sunshine vitamin’. It is recommended to have 10-15 minutes of sun exposure between 10 A.M. and 3 P.M. three times a week.
But there are several factors that can limit vitamin D production in your body via sunlight. These include:
  • Living in a country above latitude 33 degrees or where UVB light is weaker
  • Use of sunscreen
  • Old age that reduces skin’s absorption abilities

You can also maintain your vitamin D levels through the intake of vitamin D-enriched foods. Only a few foods contain this vitamin naturally; most of them are fortified.
The best sources of vitamin D3 are the flesh of fatty fish and fish liver oils. They are also present in smaller quantities in egg yolks, cheese and beef liver.
You can find vitamin D2 in certain mushrooms, plants and yeasts.
Other foods enriched with vitamin D include:
  • Salmon
  • Swordfish
  • Sardines
  • Beef liver and
  • Fortified cereals

How much is too much?

Vitamin D deficiency can put you at a high health risk. So can the intake of excessive amounts of the vitamin (also known as hypervitaminosis D).
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for anyone 19 years or older is 600 IU (International Units) daily. For adults above the age of 70, it’s sufficient to have 800 IU daily. This can come from sunlight and different food sources.
For example, on average, an egg yolk contains 37 IU of vitamin D and a 100-gram serving of wild-caught salmon contains 988 IU of vitamin D.
As for sunlight, an average of 10-15 minutes should be enough. But the exact amount of vitamin D you can absorb per minute through sunlight depends on your geographical location, the season, your skin tone and even the sky conditions on that day.
It is best recommended to talk to your doctor to know about the daily recommended dose of vitamin D for you and to understand whether you should take vitamin D supplements. Always keep a check on your health and make sure you are eating a well-balanced diet enriched with all vitamins and minerals.

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