Can vitamin D boost the immune system?

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Joel H. Fuhrman, MD
Family Medicine
Vitamin D is unique because it is more like a hormone than a vitamin and not readily found in our food supply. That is why it is often called the sunshine vitamin. It has been noted and suspected for centuries that declining sunlight during winter months may be a factor promoting seasonal increases in infections including influenza during the winter.

A recent study did an intervention with children who were given vitamin D and exposed to the influenza virus and then documented a reduced incidence of viral respiratory infections in the wintertime. This suggests that vitamin D sufficiency may reduce infection to viruses via its ability to modulate the immune system, increasing the effectiveness of macrophages, neutrophils, monocytes, and natural killer cells.

These results have been supported by other studies that show an increased risk for severe acute lower respiratory illness in people with low vitamin D levels. and vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk for influenza. Clearly it is prudent to avoid vitamin D insufficiency and maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D year round is an important part of achieving super immunity.
Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free

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Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body's Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease Free

In Super Immunity, world-renowned health expert and New York Times bestselling author of Eat to Live Dr. Joel Fuhrman offers a nutritional guide to help you live longer, stronger, and disease...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.