There is an increasing volume of research being conducted about Vitamin D and sunlight as scientists discover more and more about the amazing health qualities to be found in Vitamin D.
There has already been at least 20 years of Vitamin D research available for all to read. The importance of it being accepted has now really come to the fore as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vitamin D is essential to a healthy immune system
Our immune systems defend our bodies from any strange, invading organisms and elevate our protective immunity while also maintaining existing tolerance levels.
A Vit D deficiency affects this immune system in ways that have become clearer in the more recent years, showing especially an increased susceptibility to infection and repeated illnesses. It is now clear that vitamin D has important roles in addition to its classic effects on calcium and bone homeostasis.
As the vitamin D receptor is expressed on immune cells (B cells, T cells and antigen presenting cells) and these immunologic cells are all capable of synthesizing the active vitamin D metabolite, vitamin D has the capability of acting in an autocrine manner in a local immunologic environ.
Vitamin D can modulate the innate and adaptive immune responses.
A deficiency in Vit D is therefore associated with
As immune cells in autoimmune diseases appear to be hugely responsive to the ameliorative effects of vitamin D, the benefit of supplementing Vitamin D in those that are deficient, may extend beyond the well known effects on bone and calcium homeostasis into addressing autoimmune disease, or for COVID-19 as we are seeing.
The optimum source of Vitamin D for humans is believed to be sunlight and what's more, its absolutely free! No prescription required.
Maybe this explains a bit about why it's remained relatively unknown or under-researched for so long, as the big pharmaceuticals can't sell sunlight to us.
However, they can sell sunscreen, and so for a few decades now we have all been told to avoid this wonderful resource of health and block out the sun's rays.
But it's not all as easy as just stopping the use of sunscreens and exposing yourself to the sun's rays to take advantage of this valuable nutrient.
The levels of Vit D in foods is almost none – the idea that you can eat enough Vit D to protect yourself from illness is a little fanciful. Vitamin D3 is produced by the action of sunshine on the cholesterol layers under the skin.
There is however, far more to it than that and the following highlights some of the truths around Vitamin D and sunlight and our health.
So if sunlight exposure is really one of the most powerful healing therapies available to us in the world today, it must also be said that sensible exposure to natural sunlight can be one of the simplest, easiest and yet very important part of improving your health.
How beautiful that we can get to enjoy that feel-good sunshine 'pill' in the outdoors and not have to take drugs, undergo surgery or subject our body to immune suppressing chemical treatments!
And of course vitamin D and sunlight are free of charge.
Dr. Michael Holick