Why Vitamin D is Essential For Lung Health – Invite Health Podcast, Episode 59
Invite Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Jerry Hickey. Ph
Many people with the COVID-19 virus will have a mild infection, will recover and be fine. This is because their immune system is working quite well. Now, before antibiotics were discovered and developed, factors that influenced our immune system were extensively researched. After all, there were no antibiotics to fall back on. So, important factors for you to consider for your immune system that we’ve known for a very long time are vitamins A, C and D along with the minerals Zinc and Magnesium. Now, these are not the only factors – there are also fish oils – but these are of critical importance.
But today, because Spring officially has started recently, many people will be very low in Vitamin D. So today, we will focus on Vitamin D, lung health and overall respiratory health.
What is Vitamin D?
Of all of the nutrients I mentioned before, called host factors which are things you can take that help make your immune system more responsive. Probably the most critical factor right now is Vitamin D. Vitamin D is normally created by an interaction between the sun and the cholesterol in your skin. Because your skin is covered up and there is not enough sun in the winter – unless you’ve been supplementing with Vitamin D – your Vitamin D levels could be critically low.
A recent report from MedPage Infectious Disease that goes out to medical professionals discussed Vitamin D and the Coronavirus. A study from 2017 published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) – a review of 17 human clinical trials by doctors at Queen Mary Hospital in London and Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, New York and other academic research institutions – included 11,321 people between the age of infant to 95 years of age. Vitamin D was shown to reduce the risk of developing an acute respiratory tract infection (sudden and violent). It worked between if participants took it daily or weekly versus a massive dose from your doctor. A lower, more consistent dose was shown to work best.
In my research, you want your Vitamin D level over 50; the best level to help lower lung risks is between 50 and 80. This is the sweet spot for Vitamin D.
Researchers from the School of Clinical and Experimental Medicine at the University of Birmingham in the UK noted that low vitamin D levels are related to developing sepsis and even mortality in patients. Previous research has also reported this finding. Sepsis is when you have an infection that triggers a powerful reaction from your immune system – a cytokine storm. Your body basically goes into shock; your organs shut down, you could go into coma. In their more recent study, researchers found that if you lack Vitamin D, it is ubiquitous with patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. This research shows that you need it for your lung health.
Vitamin D and Lung Health Benefits
Vitamin D helps maintain tight junctions in your lungs, so it’s harder for a virus to insert itself in there. It is needed by your immune cells to release their powerful weapons and to kill viruses and bacteria. But you also need this vitamin to defend yourself from the immune system.
Your immune system is very powerful and complex. When there is an infection, it has to do two things appropriately. It has to point itself at the infecting organism, identifying it and killing it. Then it has to mount a strong enough attack on the virus or bacteria to kill it, but not strong enough to hurt you. The communicators in your immune system are called Cytokines; chemicals that the immune cells release to communicate with other parts of the immune system. Some cytokines raise the level of attack – pro-inflammatory cytokines – and others calm your immune system down, called anti-inflammatory cytokines.
What is happening when dealing with this Coronavirus, is similar to what you see in sepsis and ebola. If your immune system is strong, the more delicate parts of the immune system can go in and wipe out the virus and you will be okay. But for people with health conditions – older people with conditions especially – their immune system is not working well. If they are lacking vitamin D, they are in trouble. Because the immune system is not working well. This is stuck in the upper respiratory tract and becoming viral pneumonia. This is getting into the lungs and it starts to damage, inflame and kill lung cells.
This triggers a violent counter-reaction from your immune system; there is a massive release of these very powerful communicators that trigger inflammation. If you have more questions about Vitamin D, your respiratory health or COVID-19, email our degreed healthcare professionals at firstname.lastname@example.org today.
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