Vitamin D and the Immune System



Humans evolved spending most of their time outside in a sunny environment. Today, however, we’ve become largely indoor mammals that usually cover up when we venture outside. Even when we sit on a beach, we usually slather ourselves with sunscreen. That lack of sun exposure means that our bodies synthesize less vitamin D than our distant ancestors did, a condition that’s led to widespread vitamin D deficiencies in modern humans.

Your Body Is Crying Out for More Vitamin D

If you want to know how much our bodies crave vitamin D, just take a look at how hard they work to replenish it. People who are extremely deficient in vitamin D (less than 12 ng/mL) respond rapidly to sun exposure, and their serum levels rise extremely quickly. People who are marginally deficient (30-50 ng/mL) achieve optimal levels (50-80 ng/mL) more slowly. This is evidence that we need to maintain a minimal level to be fit.

One exception to this rapid repletion is people who are obese. It’s very difficult to get obese people “up to speed” with vitamin D, because, as a fat-soluble vitamin, D “hides” in the fatty tissues. In order to build up enough, some people require very high-dose supplementation—20,000 or more IU daily as prescribed by a doctor. While that seems like a lot, it’s sometimes necessary for repletion, which is important because this vitamin plays many crucial roles in the body.

Vitamin D May Help Lessen COVID-19 Symptoms—and Much More

Several studies have shown that a deficiency in vitamin D can increase your odds of catching the flu. Now researchers from Northwestern University have discovered a link between patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms and low levels of vitamin D. So it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re getting enough of this critical vitamin.


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