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Less Fear and More Vitamin D 

Less Fear and More Vitamin D 

The saying “leave no stone unturned” is extremely important at times like this. While fear is spreading faster than COVID-19, there are many things we can proactively do to gain control of our health and to help support the body’s fight against any type of infection, viral or bacterial, that goes far beyond wearing masks and gloves, washing our hands, and using sanitizers. 

Simple things like avoiding sugar (1), getting proper amounts of sleep (2), exercise (3), eating healthy (4), maintaining a healthy weight (5), using dietary supplements and maintaining a healthy vitamin D (6) level all play a role in having a strong immune system. Of all of these, maintaining a healthy vitamin D level may be the most obvious place to start. 

Vitamin D has an impact on the two main branches of our immune system: Innate and Adaptive (7). Innate immunity is something you are born with and is considered the body’s first line of defense against disease, while adaptive immunity develops as we age. As we get exposed to diseases, allergens and vaccines, we develop the antibodies to fight off disease caused by bacteria, viruses and allergens. Numerous published clinical studies confirm that low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk of infections (8). A few compelling examples:

Influenza (viral infection)
A therapeutic dose of vitamin D showed that vitamin D administration resulted in a 42% decrease in the incidence of influenza infection (9).  

Upper respiratory infections
Individuals with lower vitamin D levels (<30 ng/ml) were more likely to self-report a recent upper respiratory tract infection than those with sufficient levels (10). Recruits (soldiers) with lower vitamin D levels lost significantly more days from active duty due to upper respiratory infections than recruits with higher vitamin D levels (above 40nmol) (11).

Knowing something as simple as your vitamin D level may mean the difference between a weak or strong immune system. I serve on the scientific advisory council for Organic and Natural Health Association and a few years ago we launched a campaign to help educate consumers on the importance of knowing their vitamin D levels and to help gather more scientific information on the health benefits of vitamin D. Because of their hard work and efforts, you too can now know your vitamin D levels and have a baseline comparison on where you stand with other people around the world. Your vitamin D level needs to be between 40-60 ng/ml and the only way to know that is to test your levels. A simple home test kit is an easy way to discover how much vitamin D supplementation you need. 

We know we are starting from a very deficient place when it comes to vitamin D, as nearly 90% of all Americans are deficient. If something as simple as not knowing your vitamin D level and not taking an inexpensive vitamin D supplement each day stood between you and being able to have a healthy immune system, wouldn’t that be a shame? Don’t be one of the sick; take charge of your health now. You have the power and the tools to empower yourself and others, so let’s use that knowledge and create less fear and more health. 

Note: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and contributor(s).

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  1. Ullah H, Akhtar M, Hussain F, Imran M, Effects of Sugar, Salt and Distilled Water on White Blood Cells and Platelet Journal of Tumor Cells Vol 4, No 1 (2016) 
  2. Besedovsky L, Lange T, Born J. Sleep and immune function. Pflugers Arch. 2012;463(1):121–137. doi:10.1007/s00424-011-1044-0
  3. Campbell JP, Turner JE. Debunking the Myth of Exercise-Induced Immune Suppression: Redefining the Impact of Exercise on Immunological Health Across the Lifespan. Front Immunol. 2018;9:648. Published 2018 Apr 16. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2018.00648
  4. Chandra R, Nutrition and the immune system: an introduction., Am J Clin Nutr. 1997 Aug;66(2):460S-463S.
  5. Nieman D, Nehlsen-Cannarella S, Henson D, et al., Immune response to obesity and moderate weight loss. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1996 Apr;20(4):353-60.
  6. Aranow C. Vitamin D and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011;59(6):881–886. doi:10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755
  7. Aranow C. Vitamin D and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011;59(6):881–886. doi:10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755
  8. Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, Holick MF, Grant WB, Madronich S, Garland CF, Giovannucci E, Epidemic influenza and vitamin D., Epidemiol Infect. 2006 Dec; 134(6):1129-40.
  9. Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H, Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren.,  Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May; 91(5):1255-60.
  10. Ginde A, Mansbach J, Camargo C, Association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and upper respiratory tract infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey., Arch Intern Med. 2009 Feb 23; 169(4):384-90.
  11. Laaksi I, Ruohola JP, Tuohimaa P, Auvinen A, Haataja R, Pihlajamäki H, Ylikomi T, An association of serum vitamin D concentrations &lt; 40 nmol/L with acute respiratory tract infection in young Finnish men.,  Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Sep; 86(3):714-7.

I Feel Just Fine. I Can’t Possibly Be Vitamin Deficient, Right?

I Feel Just Fine. I Can’t Possibly Be Vitamin Deficient, Right?

Scott W. Tunis MD FACS • 

Before answering that question, it is necessary to define the term “vitamin deficient”.

Vitamin deficiencies can be absolute, wherein there is a complete lack of an essential vitamin in the diet, or partial, wherein there is a relative lack of of an essential vitamin in the diet.

An absolute deficiency of any one of the 13 essential vitamins causes clinical disease with an identifiable syndrome of symptoms and signs. Absolute vitamin deficiencies are lethal in 90-120 days. That’s why they are called essential vitamins.

As recently as between 1900 and 1940 in the United States there were approximately 300,000 cases and 100,000 deaths from Vitamin B3 (Niacin) deficiency. The disease is called pellagra.

Fortunately, absolute vitamin deficiencies are a thing of the past in developed countries. In Western society, however, an abundance of foods that are high in simple carbohydrates and lipids has led to other problems. Diabetes, hypertension, arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease, obesity etc. Let’s face it… our highways, shopping centers and neighborhoods are not exactly teeming with fresh fruit, vegetable, and whole grain stands offering high nutrition value meals.

Even if we are highly motivated to eat healthy and nutritious diets, too often our unyielding schedules, our commitments to family, faith and work, and our frequently limited dietary options can cause our diet to be low in essential vitamins.

Which brings us to the definition of “partially vitamin deficient”.

The human body cannot store most essential vitamins. What you ate yesterday is gone today. You need to consume 100% of the Daily Value (DV) every day. That’s why it’s called a Daily Value.

A partial vitamin deficiency means your level is below normal. This type of deficiency is actually quite common in the United States.

Approximately 35-40% of the US population is partially Vitamin D deficient. That number is higher in the elderly and in the African American community. Iron deficiency anemia has been estimated to be present in approximately 30% of young adults and 50% of reproductive age women. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey performed by the CDC found that the prevalence of mild deficiencies in vitamin B6 and and B12 in the US population were 10% and 4% respectively.

These are trying times. There is a New Normal. Do you really want to face possible exposure to infection without knowing that you have all the essential vitamins, in sufficient quantities, in order for your body and your immune system to function normally?

You may be surprised to discover that neither of the top two selling vitamin formulas (in domestic 2019 US sales) contains 100% of the Daily Value of all 13 essential vitamins.

With ImmunoEssentials100 you get comprehensive immunity support with 100% of the Daily Value of all 13 essential vitamins plus 24 additional powerful ingredients.