There are 3 key vitamins for the immune system that everyone should know about. And be supplementing with. They are:
I’ve listed them in what I believe are their importance. Not to your general health. But to improve the function of your immune system. In today’s blog post I’ll provide you with additional information on why these 3 key vitamins for the immune system are so important.
Let’s start with Vitamin D.
According to the National Institutes of Health from their article titled “Vitamin D and the Immune System” they state the following:
“Vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses. Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as an increased susceptibility to infection.”
In my article “Understanding Your Immune System” I cover both the Innate and Adaptive components of the immune system. Here’s a link to this article.
In looking over the information from the National Institutes of Health, the critical role that vitamin D plays is in the communication process of the immune system.
When to turn it on and off. As well as which of the immune cells of the Innate and Adaptive systems would best serve the direct needs of your body.
Thus helping to make sure that your immune system doesn’t overreact. As well as making sure that it properly recognizes pathogens so that your body can respond.
A good example of this is how proper levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream help to prevent respiratory infections. This makes proper vitamin D levels extremely important during cold and flu seasons.
And with the CoVid19 pandemic there is new research showing how normal vitamin D levels help to prevent catching this disease.
According to this study just published in JAMA Network Open, those who had a vitamin D deficiency increased their risk for catching CoVid19 by 77% when compared to those who had normal levels of vitamin D.
And age only made a slight difference of about 6%. According to David O. Meltzer, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago,
“Vitamin D deficiency was associated with an increased likelihood of testing positive for COVID 19.”
And when it comes to death rates for CoVid19, vitamin D deficiencies play a significant role in the outcome. I discuss this in great detail in my blog article “Covid 19 and Vitamin D Deficiency!”
Those who had normal vitamin D levels had a 4% mortality rate, those with insufficient vitamin D levels had a mortality rate at 88% and those with deficient vitamin D levels had a mortality rate of 99%.
This is why I place vitamin D at the top of the list of the 3 key vitamins for the immune system.
Next on the list is vitamin C.
According to the National Institutes of Health in their 2017 article titled “Vitamin C and Immune Function”:
“It is a potent antioxidant and a cofactor for a family of biosynthetic and gene regulatory enzymes. Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system.”
Your immune system is broken down into two major categories.
The Innate Immune System which helps you deal with infections, wounds, and common pathogens.
And the Adaptive Immune System which helps you adapt or create specific immune cells to destroy new types of viruses and pathogens that your body has not yet experienced. And once created, to store the needed information so that if you are exposed again, then your immune system can quickly protect you from future harm.
Vitamin C enhances Neutrophil migration to help engulf pathogens for their destruction. And helps Macrophages to do their part in clearing the infection.
Plus it enhances the differentiation and proliferation of both B and T cells.
Thus benefiting both the Innate and Adaptive functions of the immune system.
Additionally, vitamin C is critical to enhancing various components of the epithelial barriers, which help to prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections.
I go into greater detail on this in my article “The Importance of Vitamin C.”
The last of the 3 key vitamins for the immune system are the B vitamins. Specifically, vitamins B6 and B12.
Regarding vitamins B6 and your immune system, I’d like to quote from Healthline:
“A well-working immune system is key to preventing infections, inflammation and various cancers. Nutrient deficiencies, including B6, can disrupt the immune system.
More specifically, a deficiency in B6 can result in the decreased production of antibodies needed to fight infections
A B6 deficiency may also reduce your body’s production of white blood cells, including T cells. These cells regulate immune function, helping it respond appropriately.
Additionally, B6 helps your body make a protein called interleukin-2, which helps direct the actions of white blood cells.”
Vitamin B12 plays a critical role in the synthesis of both red and white blood cells.
According to Cancer.gov:
“White blood cells are part of the body’s immune system. They help the body fight infection and other diseases. Types of white blood cells are granulocytes (neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils), monocytes, and lymphocytes (T cells and B cells).”
These different variations of white blood cells populate both the Innate and Adaptive immune system.
And to emphasis the importance of B vitamins I’d like to quote the authors of a new study published in August of 2020:
“Vitamin B assists in proper activation of both the innate and adaptive immune responses, reduces pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, improves respiratory function, maintains endothelial integrity, prevents hypercoagulability and can reduce the length of stay in hospital.”
I’ve given you a lot of information to digest. Hopefully, it will help you understand your need to incorporate these 3 key vitamins for the immune system into your daily diet.
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