Summer sun, something we all long for and yet something we actually need to maintain a healthy immune system. According to statistics collected by Forth, 27% of the UK population are below normal parameters for their vitamin D levels and deficient of the vital vitamin.
Low Vitamin D levels have long been linked to the increase of a range of diseases and ill health. Recent research has found that vitamin D can regulate both the innate and adaptive immune system, potentially as the B and T cells, and APC cells have vitamin D receptors. Vitamin D affects one of the mechanisms by which dendritic cells activate T cells. In healthy people, T cells are a really important part of the adaptive immune system in fighting infections as killer T cells destroy infected or cancerous cells, whilst helper T cells modulate the immune response.
Deficiency of Vitamin D is linked to increased susceptibility to infection and increased autoimmune disease. In people with autoimmune diseases, the T cells can attack the body’s own cells. Having optimal levels of vitamin D helps to increase the amount of a molecule CD31 and this regulates the immune system so that it doesn’t attack the body’s own cells. As we can’t make Vitamin D through sunlight from October to March, supplementing with vitamin D can support our immune system and protect against viruses.
So is you needed another reason to book that last minute holiday, now you have one! But if that’s not on the cards, then there is always a tonic.
Written by Toral Shah. Toral Shah a Nutritional Scientist (MSc Nutr Med). She specialises in optimising health and disease prevention through improving food, diet and lifestyle. She uses evidence-based science knowledge along with lifestyle medicine and cooking skills to help support others to lead a healthier life by eating delicious and nutritious food.