You Need This Vitamin to Keep Your Immune System Strong
It’s that time of year again, when every other patient who walks through my clinic doors is coughing, sneezing or sniffling. It’s also that time of year when I’m ordering vitamin D tests for nearly all of the patients I see in my practice.
Over the last few years, I’ve been shocked by how frequently vitamin D deficiency has shown up in my patients. What’s even more amazing is what happens when they start taking vitamin D supplements and get their blood levels back up to optimal levels. Having seen these amazing transformations, there’s no doubt in my mind that vitamin D is a must-take supplement for just about everyone.
I firmly believe that if you live in the northern hemisphere and do not spend the majority of your time outdoors in the sun, you need to be taking a vitamin D3 supplement.
The fact is, over half the population of U.S. is thought to be deficient in vitamin D, and the problem only gets worse during the winter months, as a result of reduced exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Could this be the reason that winter presents so many of us with seasonal immune challenges? The research strongly suggests that it is.
Yet if you pay attention to the “official” vitamin D intake recommendations issued by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), you might think that you can easily get all the vitamin D you need from moderate sun exposure and fortified milk or other foods. The problem is that the IOM’s Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) for vitamin D is a mere 600 IU per day, despite the fact that many experts now concur that much higher doses of vitamin D — often, upwards of 5,000 IU per day — are needed to ensure optimal health and longevity. The best way to determine what your optimal dose of vitamin D should be is to work with a qualified health professional to measure and monitor your blood levels. For some people, relatively low doses of 2,500 IU/day might be sufficient while others might need 7,000-10,000 IU daily to achieve and maintain optimal blood levels.
But you do not want to take just any vitamin D supplement. If you take the wrong type, an insufficient dose or a supplement that is not formulated for maximum bio-availability, you could end up just wasting your money — and missing out on an opportunity to significantly improve your health. But more on that later.
First, let’s explore the connection between vitamin D and the immune system.
How Vitamin D Supports Immune Health
In 1981, a physician named Edgar Hope-Simpson theorized that an unknown seasonal influence had more to do with the widespread epidemic of viral infections seen in the winter season than airborne transmission, which was (and largely still is) the traditional belief.
Dr. Hope-Simpson was a brilliant researcher responsible for the groundbreaking discovery that chicken pox and shingles are caused by the same virus. When he turned his attention to study why epidemic viral infections surge in the winter months, he discovered many interesting things.
He observed that seasonal viral outbreaks occurred in small communities at the same time every year and found that locations with similar latitude also showed correlations of viral outbreaks regardless of where they were in the world. He also observed that rates of winter viral infections were essentially non-existent after the summer solstice.
After much research and observation, Hope-Simpson finally concluded that the most likely reason for the increased rate of epidemic viral infections in winter months was related to decreased blood levels of vitamin D that resulted from less exposure to the sun’s UV radiation — the body’s most potent trigger for the production of vitamin D.
In 2006, a group of researchers re-evaluated the evidence behind Dr. Hope-Simpson’s theory. Their findings were published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Infectious Disease. They concluded that based on the available evidence, it is very likely that the seasonal stimulus associated with increased rates of viral infection in the winter months is correlated to vitamin D deficiency.
This conclusion was based on several scientific facts known about vitamin D:
1. Vitamin D acts as a potent immune modulator helping the body to balance the immune response.
2. Vitamin D has been shown to exert strong anti-microbial actions in the body through the stimulation of potent anti-microbial peptides that helps cells destroy pathogens.[2,3]
3. Vitamin D deficiency in children is correlated to reduced immunity and is associated with a greater severity of symptoms if an illness does occur.[4,5]
4. Increasing serum blood levels of vitamin D in deficient children with vitamin D supplementation reduces the incidence of symptoms associated with a compromised immune system.
More evidence regarding the role of vitamin D on immune function has recently emerged. A groundbreaking pilot study conducted in March of 2013 measured the effect of vitamin D supplementation on gene expression in eight healthy men and women who were vitamin D deficient. The researchers discovered that vitamin D supplementation (either 400 IU or 2,000 IU) significantly increased the gene expression of 291 genes.
When studied further, vitamin D had the most impact on genes that positively affect immune function, DNA resistance to stress, cell division and proper regulation of cell death.
While both the 400 IU and 2,000 IU doses improved gene expression, there was a trend towards greater gene activity at the higher 2,000 IU dose. The 400 IU dose failed to bring the deficient individuals into the normal range after 8 weeks of supplementation. Participants taking 2,000 IU/day did achieve sufficient blood levels of vitamin D after the 8-week trial. The altered activity of genes related to the immune system was correlated with improved immune response to infections, decreased auto-immune activity and reduced levels of inflammatory markers.
Vitamin D Can Revolutionize Your Immune System…But It Can’t Do It Alone
All nutrients work in synergy with other nutrients in our bodies, and vitamin D is no exception. Ensuring a proper supply of companion nutrients that support vitamin D activity can enhance the beneficial roles of vitamin D in the body.
Let’s review some of the key nutrients necessary to ensure you are getting the most from your sun exposure or vitamin D supplement.
1. Magnesium: This mineral is abundant in the body and is responsible for over 300 essential metabolic reactions mainly related to its role in enzyme activation. All of the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D from its largely inactive pro-hormone form to its active steroid hormone form require magnesium as a co-factor.[9,10]
2. Vitamin K2: Vitamin K2 plays a critical role in regulating the increased calcium levels that result from increasing vitamin D. Vitamin K2 ensures that calcium is deposited in the bone matrix, rather than in the soft tissues of the body where it can cause problems like vascular calcification.[11, 12, 13, 14]
Note: If you are taking blood thinning medications consult with your physician before taking any supplements containing vitamin K2.
3. Zinc: This essential trace mineral catalyzes over 100 different metabolic reactions. One of its primary roles with regard to being a vitamin D cofactor is related to regulating gene expression in our cellular DNA. In conjunction with vitamin D, zinc also plays an important role in immune health and calcium metabolism.
4. Boron: Boron is a trace mineral that supports vitamin D activity by influencing the activity of enzymes that metabolize vitamin D and related minerals including magnesium and calcium.[17, 18, 19]
5. Antioxidants: Antioxidant compounds such as quercetin, grape seed extract and alpha lipoic acid enhance the beneficial effects of vitamin D on the immune system. They also help to prevent oxidative damage to DNA and ensure proper functioning of receptor sites on the cell membrane.
A Revolutionary Vitamin D Supplement Based on Science
Nutritional science has confirmed the critical importance of the vitamin D cofactors I listed above, and I firmly believe that for you to get the most out of your vitamin D supplement, it is crucial that you are also getting ample amounts of these synergistic ingredients. Even if you are relying on the sun as your primary source of vitamin D, is it important to make sure you have adequate intake of these other nutrients in your diet or from supplements to support vitamin D activity.
In my opinion, Revolution-D™ by Stop Aging Now represents the most scientifically advanced vitamin D supplement on the market today. It combines therapeutic levels of the critical nutrient co-factors needed to guarantee maximum benefits from vitamin D supplementation along with a high therapeutic dose of 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) — the most effective form — per serving.
Revolution-D is made innovative stomach acid-resistant capsules to help ensure that the vitamin D3 reaches the part of the small intestine immediately downstream of the stomach where it is most readily absorbed.
For years, I was having patients take multiple products to ensure that adequate co-factors such as magnesium, vitamin K2 and zinc were present in the levels necessary to support vitamin D activity and function. Needless to say, I was thrilled when Stop Aging Now released Revolution-D and became one of the only nutraceutical companies to produce a truly comprehensive vitamin D supplement based on cutting-edge nutritional science.
The quality of all Stop Aging Now products is unmatched, and Revolution-D is no exception. It is produced in a FDA-inspected facility that exceeds current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). As an industry expert in the field of natural supplements, I find it rare to come across a company that meets such high manufacturing standards, and it gives me great confidence in recommending their products to patients, family members and friends.
Based on the impressive volumes of research backing its importance in human health, I can honestly say that vitamin D is the single most important vitamin to take for immune health. And in my opinion, Revolution-D offers the most effective scientifically advanced formulation to support optimal vitamin D levels and excellent overall wellness.
To learn more about Revolution-D and take advantage of special discounted pricing plus FREE SHIPPING, click here.
Dr. Passero completed four years of post-graduate medical education at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon after receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Biology from the University of Colorado. Dr. Passero has trained with some of the nation’s leading doctors in the field of natural medicine. In his practice, Dr. Passero focuses on restoring harmony to both the body and mind using advanced protocols that incorporate herbal therapy, homeopathy, vitamin therapy and nutritional programs. Through education and guidance patients are able to unlock the natural healing power contained within each one of us. For more information, visit his website, Green Healing Wellness, or follow him on Facebook.