Allergic diseases of almost all types have become much more common over the past few decades. Some experts link allergy diseases to vitamin D deficiency, which is extremely common today. Low levels of vitamin D have also been associated with osteoporosis, hypertension, diabetes and cancer.
Vitamin D appears to serves multiple important functions for the immune system. It acts to stimulate the immune system against various infections, may prevent diseases, controls cancer cells groth, regulates the blood pressure hormon, as well as prevent autoimmune diseases.
Recent studies suggest that vitamin D plays an important role in the prevention of various allergic diseases, by activating certain regulatory immune cells that prevent the release of chemicals (such as histamin) which cause and worsen allergic diseases.
Vitamin D is critically important for the maintenance of calcium metabolism. Calcium is required for every cells of our body to function in a healthy way. It is one of the most vital mineral in our body. Calcium is needed for strong bones, it used by nerves and muscles, and it also needs to proper blood clotting.
Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D can be made in our bodies as a result of exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is an important nutrient and hormone. Most of it’s natural sources are animal-based, including oily fish, cod liver oil, egg yolks, cheese, fortified milk, and beef liver, mushrooms. For this reason, those, who follow a strict vegetarian diet have to pay more attention to get the recommended levels of the vitamin D over time.
It has been estimated that the body requires daily 3000-5000 IU of vitamin D. Healthy blood level of 25(OH)D is between 80-100 nmol/L. Dietary sources and vitamin D supplements can satisfy this requirements. Multivitamins typically contain 400 IU of vitamin D. Several manufacturers provide 1000 IU.
There can be a wide variation in the vitamin D content of the natural sources (e.g., farmed versus wild salmon). Cooking methods (e.g., frying versus baking) can also deplete the amount of vitamin D in foods. Therefore, most of the vitamin D that we consume comes from fortified foods (in the United States, some dairy products and breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D) and from supplements.
Vitamin D has been linked to immune system and lung development in fetus, and epidemiologic studies show that higher vitamin D intake by pregnant mothers reduces asthma risk by as much as 40% in children 3 to 5 years old. Providing adequate vitamin D supplementation in pregnancy may lead to significant decreases in asthma incidence in young children.
The findings, which are published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, suggest that increased exposure to sunlight could help to reduce children’s chances of developing food allergies and eczema. The finding suggests new ways to interact with the immune system.
We spend less time in the sun today than in any time before in the history. This is the reason why more than 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency.
Sunlight is the best and only natural source of vitamin D. Unlike dietary or supplementary vitamin D, when you get your ‘D’ from sunshine your body takes what it needs. Vitamin D experts and many health groups now advocate 1,000 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily which is five to ten times the old recommendations.
Nobody really knows for sure how much supplementary vitamin D is safe.
Vitamin D might be best obtained by getting a reasonable amount of sun exposure, such as 15 minutes a day between 10 AM and 3 PM as suggested by some experts. After this limited exposure should you apply a broad sprectum sunscreen.
So get outside and enjoy some sunshine on a regular basis. But like anything else, moderation is key so don’t overdo it.
- Sun exposure may decrease the risk of Food Allergies, Asthma and Eczema (livingwithallergy.wordpress.com
- Experts Say Maintaining Vitamin D Is Key To Health (minnesota.cbslocal.com)