Update: Vitamin D, Lung Health & The Coronavirus – Invite Health Podcast, Episode 71
Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey. Ph
Today we are going to discuss the topic of Vitamin D and your immune system. Vitamin D literally unites your immune system and mounts a better defense against infections. It also helps your immune system work in a more balanced way, making it very important during cough and cold season and in the protection of your lungs.
The Vitamin D & Immune System Connection
At one time, health professionals thought that Vitamin D could only be activated by our kidneys. But when Vitamin D is looked at after a blood test, they are looking at the form that is stored in your liver. It is released and lasts about two weeks in the blood stream. It has to go to your kidneys to be fully activated. This active form only lasts for about an hour or so. So, when your doctor is looking at your Vitamin D levels they are actually looking at an inaccurate form that still has to go through the process of becoming the active form. The interesting thing is, everyone one of our white blood cells can actually activate Vitamin D. This shows you how important this vitamin is for our immune system function.
If the immune system is overactive, it creates inflammation. This is serious and dangerous. For instance, during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, people are winding up in the intensive care unit when it attacks their lungs, as it is causing a build up of fluid in the lungs and increasing blood pressure in the lungs and is causing pneumonia. It could cause such a tremendous backlash by the immune system that the immune system itself can start destroying lung tissue.
If the immune system is too weak, you will be more at risk of having infections. You simply will not be able to fight off infections. Vitamin D impacts both of these – a weak immune system and an overactive immune system. It helps the immune system work appropriately so it is a strong enough fight against the infection, allowing just enough defense to protect you, while preventing immune system from becoming out of control.
The Immune Network is a journal that publishes peer-reviewed studies that report novel findings in regards to your immune system. If you search Vitamin D on their website, you will find 260 unique studies. One of them is extremely important, that was released very recently and right at the start of COVID-19 in February – Vitamin D-Cathelicidin Axis: at the Crossroads between Protective Immunity and Pathological Inflammation during Infection. You can find it by clicking here. The report explains how Vitamin D activates Cathelicidin in order for the immune system to function correctly, driving each other to kill infections, yeast, fungus or bacteria better. It connects the innate and adaptive immune systems.
Clinical Studies on Vitamin D for Immunity
An announcement from the National Institute of Health reports, in 2009 there was a report that a low level of Vitamin D in your blood is connected to frequent infections, including cold, flu and viral infections. Separately, there was a big analysis of human clinical trials in 2017; these were prospective clinical trials that included thousands of participants. Published in the British Medical Journal by research from Queen Mary University in London, The University of Colorado and Winthrop University of Mineola, NY in a number of well-reported and designed studies, found that taking a Vitamin D supplement reduces your odds of developing a respiratory tract infection by approximately 42%, in participants who originally had low Vitamin D levels. Researchers found that if Vitamin D was low and they brought it back up to normal levels, this helped to reduce your risk of a respiratory tract infection pretty strongly.
There is a sweet spot for Vitamin D in your blood. It seems the best level to help support healthy lungs and overall respiratory health in general, is a level of about 50-53. So, you want to aim for the range of 35-75.
The University of Colorado did their own study on about 19,000 adults and kids. They found that Vitamin D levels dropped greatly during the winter months, which is not unusual. These researchers found that having a low level of Vitamin D in your blood increases your risk of developing the flu by 43%. In the same study, people with respiratory tract disease like asthma has a 5x greater risk of a flu infection if they were low in Vitamin D. This study also found that taking this vitamin daily or weekly was more effective than taking it one or two large doses.
The issue is that right now, you cannot depend on the sun to bring your Vitamin D levels up to normal. You need to take a supplement and that is extremely important. Make sure it’s Vitamin D3, which has been shown to work better than Vitamin D2 according to several studies. And do not get it in one or two huge doses. You have to take it either weekly or every day to get that support for your lungs and your immune system.
If you have not been taking Vitamin D all winter, you need to raise your levels right now. Chances are they are very low; too low to protect you from infection or to protect your lungs. You want to get your Vitamin D levels above 35. I would recommend taking about 6,000 units every day with food for seven days. After that, you can go down to 3,000 units a day. This should get you up to a nice sweet level pretty quickly. For more information, speak with your doctor or one of our healthcare professionals today. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with us today or visit www.invitehealth.com to live chat with us without leaving your home!
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