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Vitamin D and immunity are going hand in hand.
Vitamin D is a hormone called vitamin accidentally. Hormones are essential for the body, meaning the body needs the hormones to function smoothly.
Vitamin D is the sunshine hormone. We don’t get enough sunshine the further we are away from the Equator. Sunshine is vital to build up the brain’s chemistry and to get strong bones.
In these times of Covid 19 infection, many doctors claim that Vitamin D is an essential factor to a strong immunity against all kinds of pathogens. Most people with an autoimmune disease have a deficiency in Vitamin D.
That is well-known among doctors. But they still have problems giving the right amount of vitamin D to their clients, so they are not getting enough to build up immunity!
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for the intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. They are known as vitamin D2 ( ergocalciferol)and D3( cholecalciferol), whereby the last one is the primary natural source, synthesized in the lower epidermis depending on sun exposure.
It is possible to consume the vitamins with your diet, whereas vitamin D2 sources are green leafy vegetables; cholecalciferol is available in a few foods like fatty fish or products from grass-fed cows. You might still know the fish oil we had to drink as children for developing strong bones. Puh, I was not too fond of the taste as a child.
Fish oil is still an excellent source of vitamin D3. Many countries enrich dairy products with vitamin D3 to prevent a deficiency. People nowadays are staying more inside their houses and using sun if exposed to the sun to prevent skin cancers.
People who live most days of the year in an area where they are less exposed to the sun, like the most northern and southern part of the planet, are most likely having a deficiency making it essential to consume a high vitamin D 3 supplement.
Otherwise, our biological functions are interrupted, which creates inflammation and chronic diseases. Doctors admit that Vitamin D3 deficiency is the link to develop autoimmunity and cancers.
Getting vitamin D from the diet or skin synthesis is a biologically inactive process, activated by two protein enzymes called hydroxylases. They introduce a hydroxyl group (-OH) into an organic compound; this is called Hydroxylation. The activation is done in the liver and the kidneys.
Vitamin D is considered a hormone because it can be synthesized in adequate amounts if under the sun’s influence. Vitamin D is converted in the liver to calcifediol. The chemical name is 25-hydroxycholecalciferol, which is used for the blood lab to determine Vitamin D 3 in the blood to exclude deficiency.
The kidney synthesizes calcifediol( Hydoxylation) into the form of calcitriol, the active form of Vitamin D. This hormone in the blood regulates the concentration of calcium and phosphate for healthy growth and remodeling of bone.
Other functions are cell growth, neuromuscular and immune functions. It also reduces inflammation. You see how essential this Vitamin is, especially in these times of Covid 19. If you have read my article about the immune system and its functions, you will understand the importance of this vitamin to immunity.
Vitamin D is essential for calcium synthesis. In the 19 century, they discovered that poor people who lived near the coalfields had developed a Rickets disease or the “English Disease.” Children grew soft bones; even newborn babies were already born with this disease. The sky was black from the coal preventing the sun from penetrating these layers.
They initially thought it is because of England’s dull and wet climate, which does, of course, contribute to the development of this disease. And most likely, the low diet, the dirty skin, early weaning, and impure air haven’t done any good.
In agricultural areas, they had nearly none who suffered from this disease. We know now the reason. The air was clean, and the people living there were eating a proper diet receiving enough vitamin D to prevent the Rickets from developing.
The problem was recognized in cold and wet climates like the Netherlands, England, Germany, and Northern Italy. Still, it was absent in tropical and sub-tropical climates, which was for sure a grandiose discovery.
They discovered that a deficiency of sunlight did the damage, accompanied by insufficient calcium intake from an improper diet. Doctors didn’t know the connection between Vitamin D and Calcium intake at these times.
They studied rats the effects of UV light and enriching their diets with cod liver oil. At the end of the 18th century, they used cod liver oil to treat rheumatism and used it for Rickets. But they didn’t understand why cod liver oil helped with this disease.
At the beginning of the 20th century, they discovered Vitamin D as a pre- hormone. Until then, they observed the results but couldn’t explain the chemical process.
Researchers have learned that an adequate calcium intake accompanied by sun exposure and cod liver oil can prevent Rickets’ development.
Asian migrants who came to England suffered very quickly from the same conditions. But when they used the Vitamin D supplements, cod liver oil and consumed a sufficient amount of calcium, the disease disappeared.
Because Vitamin D has a strong effect on the immune system and cell growth, it is the right choice against pathogens that try to weaken the immune system. That is an interesting fact, especially by influenza and Covid 19’s infections.
Does Vitamin D Boost Immunity?
Yes, it does! Vitamin D, the sunshine hormone, dramatically influences our immunity.
In the 19th and 20th century patients with tuberculosis were sent to sanatoriums to cure their illness; left untreated at that time was commonly a deadly disease. Wet, cold climate, little heating in the houses, improper diet, avoiding the sun made it easy for this disease to develop.
In these sanatoriums, people were opposed to sunlight, got a proper diet and cod liver oil to heal the disease. Lower serum levels of Vitamin D3 showed an increase in infections and inflammation. In the winter, there has been the highest infection rate reported than in the summer.
Doctors concluded that the sunlight and the increase of Vitamin D 3 impacted immunity. People with lower serum levels often suffering from respiratory tract infections improved very much when given high vitamin D 3.
There are relevant fewer influenza infections reported in summer, which shows the sun light’s importance again.
If you use a sunbed in winter with the right care, it is a perfect treatment against infections and depression. But of course, don’t overdo the tanning. There are saunas where you can get sunlight therapy reporting the same beneficial effects on the body and brain.
Vitamin D And Vitamin K- Why Using Them Together?
The critical point is that you never should consume high amounts of Vitamin D3 without taking Vitamin K. They both are fat-soluble vitamins and are essential for calcium metabolism. The synergistic interplay of these vitamins is still not accepted.
As a nurse, I see that more older people are treated with a low Vitamin D3 without adequate Vitamin K intake. Older people’s skin is less likely to get penetrated by the sun.
I know many older folks stay the most time inside the house, which doesn’t help their health condition. They are prone to all kinds of infection and inflammation.
The amount of vitamin D 3 described by their GP’s is too little. In my eyes, it is like a placebo given to them. But some doctors prescribe 20000 i.U. once a week, and that is about 2800 a day. That is better.
The synergistic interplay between the vitamins affects the most bones and cardiovascular health. It is well studied that these two vitamins complement each other.
Vitamin D is responsible for producing Vitamin K-dependent proteins requiring enough vitamin K for the carboxylation to function correctly.
They have very well studied the connection in the menopausal women who suffer due to the declined sex hormones very often from osteoporosis reducing bone mass. Menopausal women are easy to have fractures, sometimes spontaneous.
It is still happening that doctors prescribe a high amount of calcium, which circulates in the blood without being controlled by vitamin D. The veins, arteries, and organs start to calcify, hardening the tissue.
These women have a high chance of suffering a heart attack or stroke because their veins and arteries become hard from the deposited calcium. They need vitamin D to bring calcium to the bones.
This is the point where vitamin K comes in. Vitamin K is necessary for the body to get the calcium out of the tissues, veins, and arteries and implement it into the bones. For this reason, you should never consume vitamin D without K.
What is Vitamin K?
Vitamin K is also a group of fat-soluble vitamins playing a role in blood clotting, bone metabolism, and regulating blood calcium levels, which I have already explained.
Vitamin K1, also called phylloquinone, is needed by the body for producing prothrombin, a protein that is relevant for blood clotting. People who use warfarin or coumadin, blood-thinning medications, should always ask their doctor before taking any vitamin K, which influences blood clotting.
Vitamin K1 is coming from plants, so deficiency is rare. The source of Menaquinone or vitamin K2 is animal products and fermented food. A very high amount of K2 available is in Natto, a Japanese derivative of fermentation.
Vitamin K2 is a significant factor preventing calcification, the most risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Vitamin K helps keep the blood pressure in balance by preventing the veins and arteries from hardening due to calcification.
If we get older, calcification is the natural process of dying, and it naturally occurs with age. But you can prevent your blood vessels and tissues from premature calcification by eating the right diet and moving your body.
Taking Vitamin D3 and K2 together is an art of healing. Many vitamins function as a pair, interacting in the body. To prevent calcification in your blood vessels, you need to consume always D3 and K2 together.
If you use calcium, you need to use magnesium and both vitamins, and you will have great results for your bone health, blood system, and immune system.
For every 10000 units of vitamin D 3, you need 200 mcg vitamin K2 on the safe side.
Always get first your blood tests done to prevent an overdose of vitamin D3.
The right vitamin K2 is menaquinone – 7(MK-7). They often offer MK-4 in supplements, but that is synthetical and not recognized by the body.
A fair amount to start with is 5000 units of vitamin D3, accompanied by 75 – 100 mcg Vitamin K2. Don’t exceed the amount without being tested. Ask your doctor or the pharmacist.
I would love to hear what you think? What are your experiences?
To your health,