Vitamin D is often called “the sunshine vitamin” because it is produced in your skin by the interaction of UV light from sunshine and cholesterol. Vitamin D plays a variety of essential roles in your health from the absorption of calcium for healthy bones and teeth - to hormonal health. What we want to talk about specifically right now is the part that it plays in your immune system.
The Role of T Cells in Your Immunity
Within your immune system, T cells play a major role in moderating the response of your immunity to different things that may or may not be classified as an invader in your body. It’s critical that your body knows the difference between healthy tissues, “self,” as we call it, and things that may be classified as “invaders,” which are things that may or may not be welcoming to your body.
Vitamin D ensures that your immune system has a strong enough response so that if you do come across bacteria, viruses, or yeast – it will respond correctly to those invaders as something that shouldn’t be in your body, and activate all the potent “killer cells” to get rid of them.
Proper Immune Defense: Self vs. Invaders
By making sure we have healthy T cell function, Vitamin D is also making sure that your immune system doesn’t improperly respond to “self”, also known as autoimmunity, where you’re getting an immune response that is improper to matters of your “self” and to your own tissues. It's vital that T cels know the difference between what should and shouldn’t be responded to. Vitamin D is the most critical nutrient for making sure those functions are on point.
Since Vitamin D is made from the interaction of UV light from sunlight and cholesterol in the skin, it becomes very important to make sure we have proper levels of vitamin D as we move into Fall and Winter. During these seasons the sun moves into a slightly different angle, causing less exposure to sunlight. Many people (especially in the Northern hemisphere) don’t receive the UV light that’s needed to help build vitamin D in the body and their likelihood of getting sick increases.
How Much Vitamin D Should You Take?
It is recommended that we have around 5,000 IU’s of vitamin D per day. Vitamin D rich foods such as eggs, wild Alaskan Salmon, and mushrooms are healthy foods that we encourage you to include in your diet, but foods that contain vitamin D don’t have near enough of the concentration we need on their own.
Vitamin D Food Sources:
- Cod Liver Oil, 1 tbsp. — 1,360 IU
- Swordfish, 3 oz. — 566 IU
- Wild Sockeye Salmon, 3 oz. — 447 IU
- Tuna Fish, 3 oz. — 154 IU
- Sardines, 2 — 46 IU
- Beef Liver, 3 oz. — 42 IU
- Egg, 1 large — 41 IU
- Mushrooms, 1 C. — 2 IU
To get all the Vitamin D that you need, we recommend using an excellent, high-quality vitamin D supplement such as M’lis Vitamin D, always an exceptional choice because it has the proper form of highly bio-available (the extent to which nutrients can be absorbed and utilized by the body) vitamin D for your body, and you can tailor its dose to whatever intake you need. It’s a natural and inexpensive move you can make to boost your immune system.