What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a number of critical roles in your body. This vitamin is especially important for your immune system, which is your body’s first line of defense against infection and disease.
What does it do for my immune system?
Some research has shown that having healthy levels of vitamin D, through food or as a vitamin D supplement, can help keep your immune system healthy and may protect against respiratory illnesses. Vitamin D plays a critical role in promoting immune response by enhancing the function of immune cells (such as T-cells and macrophages), that protect your body against bacteria and viruses.
It also has anti-inflammatory and immunoregulatory properties (helps regulates the immune system), and is crucial for the activation of immune system defenses. Moreover, Vitamin D is so important for immune function that low levels of vitamin D have been associated with increased susceptibility to infection, disease, and immune-related disorders as well as viral and bacterial respiratory infections.
How much vitamin D do I need?
According to NHS.UK, adults need about 10 micrograms (10μg) of vitamin D a day, which you can get from food.
In exceptional circumstances (i.e. if you are vitamin D deficient, are pregnant or elderly), it is highly recommended that a vitamin D supplement containing 10μg should be taken (1). Within the UK, alongside vitamin D rich foods, supplements are highly recommended for the autumn/winter months (from September to February).
Furthermore, if you have a darker skin tone – for example, you have an African, African-Caribbean or south Asian background – you may also not get enough vitamin D may, therefore, need to take vitamin D supplements or eat more vitamin D rich foods throughout the year.
How do I get my healthy dose of Vitamin D?
Foods high in Vitamin D include;
- Cod liver oil
- Fortified foods such as cereals and plant-based milk.
Don’t get caught out during this pandemic! Make sure you’re getting your vitamin D!