Living Life Naturally

Archive for May, 2020

Vitamin D, who takes a supplement? Who doesn’t? Who should?

The answer is that most of us should be supplementing Vitamin D.

I have been doing a lot of research & reading while we are in Lockdown and found some very interesting articles regarding Vitamin D.

One study, which is yet to be peer reviewed, found that patients with a severe Vitamin D deficiency are twice as likely to experience potentially lethal complications from Covid19.

Having high levels of vitamin D will not stop someone catching the virus, but it may be able to reduce complications and prevent death.

Not only did they find a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and higher mortality rates, they also identified a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and a complication known as a cytokine storm, which occurs when the immune system goes into overdrive.

Vitamin D levels appear to play role in Covid-19 mortality rates, according to researchers from Trinity College Dublin.

The study shows that, countries at lower latitude and typically sunny countries, such as Spain and Northern Italy, had low concentrations of vitamin D and high rates of vitamin D deficiency.

As we now know, these countries also experienced the highest infection and death rates in Europe.

The northern latitude countries of Norway, Finland and Sweden, have higher vitamin D levels despite less UVB sunlight exposure, because supplementation and fortification of foods is more common.

These Nordic countries have lower Covid-19 infection and death rates. The correlation between low vitamin D levels and death from Covid-19 is statistically significant.

The authors of the study propose that, whereas optimising vitamin D levels will certainly benefit bone and muscle health, the data suggests that it is also likely to reduce serious Covid-19 complications.

This may be because vitamin D is important in regulation and suppression of the inflammatory cytokine response, which causes the severe consequences of Covid-19 and ‘acute respiratory distress syndrome’ associated with ventilation and death.

Professor Rose Anne Kenny said: “In England, Scotland and Wales, public health bodies have revised recommendations since the Covid-19 outbreak. Recommendations now state that all adults should take at least 400 IU vitamin D daily. Whereas there are currently no results from randomised controlled trials to conclusively prove that vitamin D beneficially affects Covid-19 outcomes, there is strong circumstantial evidence of associations between vitamin D and the severity of Covid-19 responses, including death.”

Vitamin D is readily found in foods like eggs, liver and oily fish – such as salmon or mackerel – as well as fortified foods such as cereals and dairy products.

 

Health Benefits of Sunlight

Moderate sun exposure has a lot of research-backed benefits for the immune system, heart health, emotional well-being and more. Just considering the heart health benefits alone, researchers from the University of Edinburgh in the UK concluded that they likely far outweigh the risks.

Strengthens & Balances The Immune System

Sunlight strengthens and balances immune function in at least three ways:

UV light stimulates the production of vitamin D

Vitamin D helps regulate ‘At least 1,000 different genes governing virtually every tissue in the body.’

That may explain why low vitamin D levels are associated with a such a broad spectrum of issues, including impaired immune function, fatigue, bone pain, back pain / general muscle pain, depression, impaired wound healing, rickets and bone loss.

On the flipside, optimal vitamin D levels are associated with healthy neuromuscular function, calcium metabolism, and of course immune function.

Sunshine directly activates immune cells via blue light

A specific wavelength of sunlight – blue light – directly activates key immune cells called T lymphocytes, says Dr. JoAnn Manson of Harvard Medical School. Sunlight also increases the motility of T lymphocytes, which is their ability to move around and get where they need to go.

This is a benefit that is thought to be separate from the benefits offered by vitamin D. Interestingly, our skin contains about twice as many T lymphocytes as can be found in the bloodstream, so activating them via sunlight may significantly increase the number of T cells available for mounting an immune response.

Sunlight increases levels of immune regulatory molecules

Sunlight boosts our concentrations of molecules that are thought to support a balanced immune system. In particular, UVB light increases production of regulatory T cells (Tregs), which play a significant role in calming an overactive immune system. (14)

Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with an increased risk of certain autoimmune disease, including multiple sclerosis, irritable bowel disease and type I diabetes. Although the relationship is not fully understood, it may be in part because Vitamin D is an immune modulator that helps our bodies balance between an underactive immune system (increased susceptibility to infection) and an overactive one (autoimmunity).

If you’ve read this far – well done!

The majority of people in the UK do need to supplement with Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 to make sure it reaches the right places.

I have been supplementing for many years as I have both Hashimoto’s (autoimmune thyroid disease) and Osteoporosis. The photos show Better You Vitamin D & K2 sprays which is how I take mine.

Take care & stay safe at this difficult time.

Love & Light

Lesley