Vitamin D–Lung Health and Immunity

Ever wonder why the flu (Influenza) disappears over the summer to make its inevitable return in the Fall?

It’s due to sunshine and the angle of the sun. The more the sun shines on you the more Vitamin D you make.

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin and during the summer, healthy individuals who go out for an hour or more of sun make about 20,000 IU of Vitamin D per day. It is a potent anti-viral and keeps the Influenza virus (and other viruses) at bay. Conversely, for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere, they are susceptible to the flu during this time period because they have less sunlight.

Interestingly, Vitamin D also is known to help lung health, specifically in warding off pneumonia and helping those who have COPD, Emphysema, Asthma and other respiratory disorders. Obviously, it would be an ideal world if we could just go outside and get some sun. But if you live up North like I do, it is often cold and due to social distancing, most of us are inside. Others of us are caretakers of older individuals who are homebound or incapable of staying outside for long periods of time.

Therefore, I strongly suggest supplementing your diet with a daily dose of 5000 IU Vitamin D per day. When you do purchase Vitamin D (available in the shop section), make sure it is D3 Cholecalciferol. It is the only bioavailable Vitamin D available; the rest will be a waste of money. Take it in the morning with food since it is fat soluble. And if and when the sun comes out, go outside and get some sun. Your body will thank you.

Here’s a great source of more studies on this nutrient but I’ll just post the concluding paragraph for copyright reasons:

In those reporting chronic lung disease (such as chronic bronchitis or emphysema), the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was significantly higher than those not reporting disease across the age groups both in winter and summer (Figures 8-9). For instance in those aged >55 years, the prevalence in winter of deficiency was 33.8% in those with lung conditions vs 22.7% with no conditions. Similar trends were observed in 70+ age group where rates were 32 vs 29.9% in winter and 16.9 vs 12.3% in summer.

Our people aged 70 and over are the fabric of our society (19) and we must use all available tools to facilitate the reduction and transmission of COVID-19. Vitamin D is a potent immune modifying micronutrient and if the status of this vitamin is sufficient, it could benefit vulnerable adults in particular those 70+ years and older who are ‘cocooning’ during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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