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Today, I want to talk about how vitamin D kills viruses, especially during the winter months, so you have better protection against viral infections.
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In this article:
- What Is Vitamin D?
- Majority of Infections Are Viral
- Why Do You Get the Flu During the Fall Season?
- Does Vitamin D Help with Viruses and the Immune System?
- What Are the Other Benefits of Vitamin D?
- How Can You Increase Vitamin D Levels in Your Body Naturally?
Things to Know About How Vitamin D Kills Viruses
What Is Vitamin D?
We always hear about vitamin D and many other types of vitamins, but we often don’t know exactly what it is. Let me give you a little background about this vitamin before we go deeper into understanding how vitamin D kills viruses and bacteria.
Also known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D comes from your body’s response to sun exposure. Like other vitamins, your body cannot naturally produce vitamin D unless you're exposed to the sun.
Sun exposure of about 5-10 minutes twice or thrice a week can help your body produce enough vitamin D. But, the vitamin can break down fast, which means your stores can quickly run low. This is the reason why, during the winter season, a lot of people may experience vitamin D deficiency where sun exposure is zero or very limited.
Did you know that 75% of all infections are viral? It’s important to know this as part of learning how vitamin D kills viruses. Vitamin D fights viruses and can reduce viral infections by up to 50%. When you consume vitamin D, always take it in vitamin D3 form. Taking 20,000 IUs greatly improves a cold sore.
Why Do You Get the Flu During the Fall Season?
Vitamin D and viruses are closely related. In the fall, people usually experience the symptoms of the flu, common cold, and cough as an immune response. I believe this is because you become deficient in vitamin D if you don’t have much sun exposure during summer. Vitamin D insufficiency increases susceptibility to the flu virus, making your body more susceptible to respiratory tract infections.
Does Vitamin D Help with Viruses and the Immune System?
We always talk about vitamin C as an antioxidant for the immune system, but I think vitamin D is more important as it improves autoimmune conditions. It is a hormone precursor to cortisol, a stress hormone involved in the immune system function as well. When someone gets an autoimmune disease or any type of infection, they take steroids or prednisone because these medications suppress white blood cells.
Vitamin D can also act as a broad-spectrum antibiotic. If you add zinc, vitamin A, and selenium to vitamin D, you'll have a great natural remedy for viral infections during colds and flu season.
What Are the Other Benefits of Vitamin D?
Aside from the benefit of vitamin D for your immune system, part of knowing how vitamin D kills viruses is learning its other health benefits. This allows you to understand that the vitamin is more than just for strengthening the immune system.
1. Has Been Used in Cancer Research
Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients for cell-to-cell communication and for regulating cell growth. Research showed that the hormonally active form of vitamin D, calcitriol, may help reduce cancer progression as it slows down the development and growth of blood vessels in cancerous tissues. This can result in the reduction of cell metastasis and proliferation and cause an increase of cancer cell death in cancer patients.
2. Promotes Healthy Pregnancy
Inadequate levels of vitamin D in pregnant women can lead to several health issues. It can increase their risk of needing a cesarean section or developing preeclampsia. The lack of vitamin D can also cause bacterial vaginosis in pregnant women and gestational diabetes. All of these can occur once the levels of vitamin D are critical. This is the reason why it's essential to increase the supply of the vitamin to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
Preeclampsia Definition: A condition that happens during pregnancy where a pregnant woman experiences symptoms of protein in the urine and high blood pressure.
3. Supports Healthy Bones
Vitamin D is popular for helping regulate calcium in the bones. It is also essential in maintaining good levels of phosphorus in your blood, which is another factor in keeping healthy bones. Your body needs vitamin D to reclaim calcium excreted through your kidneys and to support calcium absorption in the stomach.
4. Aids in Weight Loss
Vitamin D may also have the potential to aid in weight loss. A study found that taking calcium and vitamin D supplements every day can help dieters lose more weight as the extra calcium and vitamin D provide an appetite-suppressing effect. You can include a vitamin D supplement in your diet or eat foods rich in the nutrient. If you are unsure, consult a dietician for proper nutritional guidance.
5. May Enhance Muscle Strength
Vitamin D has the potential to improve your muscle strength as well. Research revealed that the active form of vitamin D was linked to women with lean muscle mass. Those who have more muscle bulk had high levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream. For women who want to tone and strengthen their muscles, supplementing with or eating foods rich in vitamin D may help.
How Can You Increase Vitamin D Levels in Your Body Naturally?
There are a few natural ways to increase the levels of vitamin D in your body. It mostly deals with consuming the right sources of food.
1. Eat Seafood and Fatty Fish
Seafood and fatty fish are abundant in vitamin D. A 3.5-ounce (100 g) of canned salmon, for example, can already give you up to 386 IU of vitamin D. For seafood, the amount of vitamin D varies on the type of species. Examples of fatty fish and seafood are as follows:
2. Expose Yourself More to the Sun
The sun is one of the best sources of vitamin D. Your skin has a certain type of cholesterol that is a precursor of the vitamin, and when your skin is exposed to the sun, it becomes vitamin D. If you opt for the supplementation of the vitamin or eating foods rich in it, the sun-derived vitamin can circulate twice.
3. Add Egg Yolks to Your Diet
Egg yolks are also good sources of vitamin D. You may opt for eggs from free-range or pasteurized-raised chickens as they may offer higher levels of vitamin D than chickens without outdoor access. You can create various types of keto meals with eggs every day to help boost vitamin D in your body.
4. Include Mushrooms in Your Diet
Mushrooms are the only plant-based source of this vitamin. They can make their own vitamin D when exposed to the sun. The vitamin content may vary on the type of mushroom, though, but wild maitake mushroom gives as much as 2,348 IU of vitamin D per 100 g.
The key to knowing how vitamin D kills viruses is to increase the levels of the vitamin if you’re deficient. During summer, try to get as much sun as possible to avoid the flu and other infectious diseases during the next season. Eat more foods rich in vitamin D or take vitamin D supplements, especially during the winter season, to maximize the benefits of the nutrient.
What other food sources of vitamin D can you share with us? Let us know in the comments section!
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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.