What is the Importance of Vitamin D?

By: Karl Zarse, MD

Vitamin D is all over the news today with good reason. 

Vitamin D plays a critical role in modulating the innate and adaptive immune system. These arms of the immune system not only attack bacteria, viruses, and abnormal cells, but they also make antibodies that circulate throughout our bodies tagging these invaders for future destruction. 

There are receptors for Vitamin D on every cell involved in this amazing system and its effects are widespread. Multiple cross-sectional studies have shown that a deficiency of Vitamin D is correlated with increased rates infections. Recent studies have shown an association with Airway diseases and dysregulated Vitamin D. 

There is increasing epidemiological evidence linking Vitamin D deficiency enhances your chances of an autoimmune disorders including Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Inflammatory bowel disease, Diabetes Mellitus, and Systemic Lupus Erythematous. 

Vitamin D is a complex molecule and is a hormone and not really a vitamin. In addition to it is immune enhancing properties, it is required to absorb calcium from the gut. It is made in the skin and absorbed from your diet. 

Unfortunately, most of us do not get enough sunlight, especially with sunscreens and the concern for skin cancer, and therefore we rarely get enough Vitamin D. For this reason, you must take much higher doses than is currently recommended. I recommend everyone start at 5000 IU a day and check your level in 3 months. It costs around $40 and will give you real time data on where you are. I take 15000 IU a day, and my Vit D level is mid normal after years on this regimen. 

This incredibly important hormone is key to long term health, and you being fit. Make it a part of your daily routine.


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