Vitamin D is produced by the body when it comes into contact with sunlight. It is found naturally in an incredibly small amount of foods and is added artificially to some. This makes it very difficult for us to get enough of this precious vitamin and the costs of a vitamin D deficiency can be horrible.
Vitamin D serves several functions inside our bodies. First, it assists the body in the breaking down of calcium, which is one of the main compounds in our bones. In other words, vitamin D helps give you strong bones. It also carries immune targeting properties. This means that it can assist in the fighting of autoimmune diseases, other infections, and possibly sickness in general.
This vitamin is so important for us that our bodies have adapted to creating it naturally, but only through sufficient amounts of sunlight.
Effects on the immune system
Our immune systems serve to fight off foreign, invading organisms within our bodies. Vitamin D serves to strengthen our immune systems, allowing us to fight off these diseases easier.
When vitamin D levels in your blood are over 50, functional medicine studies show that it becomes immune protective for your system. If they raise above 75, it can possibly become cancer protective. The typical level of vitamin D in our blood is shown to be above 30, which is not enough to provide immune protection.
We have been using vitamin D to fight infections before we even realized why it was working. Tuberculosis patients used to be sent to places called sanitariums, while there, a patient would be exposed to large amounts of sunlight. They thought that the sun was killing the Tuberculosis directly, but it was actually due largely to the vitamin D they were receiving!
A vast amount of studies have been done testing the association between vitamin D and the ability to fight infection and disease. A study of over 19,000 subjects in the late 20th century found that reports of infection were significantly higher in patients with vitamin D deficiencies than those who had sufficient amounts.
What are the best ways to get vitamin D?
The main way of receiving vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight. Although, this can become difficult in the winter months when we are not able to be outside as much as we may like to be. In this case, vitamin D supplements are available. Since we cannot get nearly enough vitamin D from our food alone we must take action to ensure our bodies have enough of this crucial nutrient.