Friday 27 May 2022

Research finds that vitamin D is key for optimum immune health

  Many studies have found that vitamin D is key to your overall well-being. According to a recent study, vitamin D is also key to immune health.

This is crucial because your vitamin D levels may also be linked to Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) mortality.

The sunshine vitamin and immune health

Research has found that low vitamin D levels are linked to many health concerns like anxiety, depression, cardiovascular function and neurodegenerative disorders. Since the early days of the pandemic, people have often used vitamin D to boost their immune health.

Recent studies have also identified a linear relationship between vitamin D levels and COVID-19 mortality. According to data from the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s (CRN) 2021 survey, vitamin D usage in the U.S. went up significantly by 10 percent, from 42 percent in 2020 to 52 percent in 2021.

The survey also showed that at least 45 percent of respondents indicated that they had their vitamin D levels checked by a health care provider at some point during the pandemic.

In 2021, CRN announced the launch of Vitamin D & Me!, a consumer education website about vitamin D and COVID-19. The website shares research, expert video interviews, news and education in a user-friendly format, with a focus on consumers in the U.S. aged 55 and older.

Content for Vitamin D & Me! was developed by Nutrasource, a contract research organization and CRN member company.

Will Rowe, Nutrasource president and CEO, explained that the company was chosen “to provide fair and balanced unbiased content during the pandemic related to vitamin D’s role in immune health.” While he acknowledged that there are some side areas of interest, the website’s main focus is to effectively raise awareness around vitamin D’s “very specific role in immune health and immune wellness,” added Rowe.


He also said that the website will closely examine clinical literature in the published literature retrospectively and that it will be proactive as research is published, whether they are specific studies or meta-analyses review papers.

Vitamin D for overall well-being

Susan Hewlings, director of scientific affairs at Nutrasource, explained that taking vitamin D supplements alone is not enough. To ensure that your body is absorbing vitamin D, you should also consume other vitamins.

Vitamin D levels are a reflection of your overall diet and nutrient intake, so you need to understand that it works hand in hand with other crucial factors like diet, overall nutrient intake, health, wellness and exercise, all of which contribute to the idea that you can make a significant difference in your health and health outcomes.

Hewlings noted that one of the challenges when it comes to diet and disease connections is the fact that there is often a long latency period that makes it hard for an individual to make it tangible. This means there is usually a long period from exposure or from dietary behaviors and disease outcomes, which makes it seem less connected.

With vitamin D and immune health, people can take a closer look at the impact that their health behaviors have on their short-term and long-term health.

Compared to other vitamins, vitamin D is easier to measure and quantify, added Hewlings.

Both Hewlings and Rowe hope that this initiative empowers the public to take control of their health and serves as a reminder that they have a direct impact on their health outcomes.

While there are many factors you can’t control in your health like age, heredity, or genetics, vitamin D is a relatively inexpensive tool that is readily accessible.

Research has shown that vitamin D has “a very solid safety profile and a number of positive areas of efficacy that it contributes toward.” This is one key area where you can take control of that aspect of your own health even though many other areas are outside of your control, said Rowe.  

How to boost vitamin D intake

There are several ways to boost your vitamin D intake for better immune health:


It’s called the “sunshine vitamin” because the human body converts sunlight into vitamin D after it hits unprotected skin. Just make sure you avoid extended exposure to sunlight without sunscreen.

Vitamin D from dietary sources

These superfoods naturally have vitamin D:

  • Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are some of the best sources of vitamin D.
  • Beef liver, cheese and egg yolk provide small amounts of vitamin D.
  • Mushrooms can also contain vitamin D if they were grown under UV lights.
  • Fortified foods and drinks like milk and some cereals provide most of the vitamin D in your diet.
  • Plant-based beverages, like soymilk.

Vitamin D supplements

Some people may need vitamin D supplements, including:

  • Individuals with dark skin
  • Older adults
  • Breastfed infants
  • People with certain medical conditions like celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis and liver disease
  • People who are obese or who have had gastric bypass surgery

Follow a balanced diet and eat foods rich in vitamin D to boost your immune health. You can also take supplements if you need extra vitamin D.

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