Yes, of course vitamin C is important for our immunity, but too few of us recognize the importance of vitamin D for immune systems.
In fact, we learned from Hum Nutrition that an estimated 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D. Harvard’s School of Public Health released a report citing several studies linking vitamin D levels with bone strength, muscle retention, heart health, and the immune system.
Why You Shouldn’t Overlook Vitamin D for Immunity
Naturally, getting enough direct sunlight is key for vitamin D absorption, but even if you spend the right amount of time outdoors, cloud cover, air pollution, altitude, and skin color can all affect the amount of sunshine available to the body.
HUM Nutrition’s Here Comes The Sun supplement contains 2000 IU’s of Vitamin D3. D3 is the active form of vitamin D which the body can use more efficiently. It has been studied for its effects on the immune system, bone health, hormone balance and digestive health.
We asked dietician, Alex Caspero, MA, RD, RYT to break down the importance of vitamin D for immunity a bit further. She shared with us, “Most of us are familiar with ‘the sunshine vitamin’ for its role in calcium absorption and as an essential mineral for bone health, but vitamin D also plays a role in cell growth, immune function and anti-inflammatory responses.”
“While vitamin D is found in some fortified foods, it’s only naturally present in a few select foods and must be obtained either through direct sunlight or through supplementation. Consider how most of us live: indoors for the majority of our day, or covered with either sunscreen or clothes when we do head outside. Reduced exposure, along with pollution and where we live can all affect how much vitamin D we actually get from the sun. It’s why many people are deficient in vitamin D and require supplementation to help boost their levels.”
Apparently, while vitamin D deficiency is quite common, signs of a deficiency are subtle. Caspero recommended checking vitamin D levels as part of a yearly physical and also told us that “bone pain and muscle weakness can indicate suboptimal vitamin D levels, but aren’t usually felt until someone is very deficient.” If you do find that you are low in vitamin D, a daily supplement of at least 2000 IUs/day is typically recommended.
HUM Nutrition’s Here Comes The Sun supplement contains the 2000 IU’s of recommended Vitamin D in the form of vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is the active form of the vitamin which the body can use more efficiently. It has been studied for its effects on the immune system, bone health, hormone balance and digestive health.
Studies have also shown that Vitamin D can boost elasticity and collagen production in the skin while also reducing the appearance of lines, dark spots and acne.
On Gut Health + the Immunity Connection
Another key supplement for immunity that might not be as obvious as vitamin C is a good probiotic. Did you know that digestion takes more energy than just about any other function in the body? If the body is continually over-working to digest because of an imbalanced gut microbiome or poor digestive health, you could be unnecessarily over-taxing your body and draining your energy on a daily basis.
HUM Nutrition’s Gut Instinct contains a combination of probiotics that are clinically proven to affect the adult immune system. There are 25 billion good-for-you bacteria in HUM Nutrition’s ten-strain, high-potency formula. Beneficial bacteria are key to keep the digestive tract healthy and growing and studies link combination probiotic blends to boosting the immune system for overall body and skin health.
Dietician, Alex Caspero also shared, “It’s estimated that roughly 70-80% of our immune system is housed in our GI tract. A healthy gut is essential for enhanced immunity. The gut microbiota found in the gastrointestinal tract help to regulate immune homeostasis — any alterations of these bacteria can cause immune dysregulation, which can lead to autoimmune issues and decreased immunity. The more diverse our gut microbes, the more effective they are for all aspects of health, including immunity. The average Western diet is very low in fiber, or food for our gut bacteria, and therefore a probiotic can be a beneficial boost.”
And, Yes, Take Your Vitamin C
While it’s not the only supplement you should keep in mind — yes, of course, vitamin C plays a crucial role in strengthening the immune system. Vitamin C is a powerhouse antioxidant that protects our bodies from environmental aggressors like free radical damage, air pollution, and a multitude of toxins. It’s also critical in boosting collagen production for strong, healthy skin — our first line of defense against external pathogens.
Vitamin C is naturally found in citrus fruits. Tapping into nature’s wisdom, HUM Nutrition has included citrus bioflavonoids derived from lemons and oranges in their supplement, Air Patrol. These citrus-derived antioxidants help keep vitamin C from oxidizing to increase its potency, make it more bioavailable in the body and easier to digest.
Air Patrol contains a unique form of vitamin C called calcium ascorbate, a form of vitamin c and calcium that can “buffer” the acidity of standard vitamin C (ascorbic acid).
Research shows that vitamin C boosts both branches of our immune system: the innate and adaptive immune responses. Our innate immune response includes the immediate, non-specific reaction to any foreign invader in the body. The adaptive immune response is activated days later, once our body has learned how to effectively eliminate the threat and “remembers” how to quickly react in the future.
To Protect Your Immunity Daily
If you’re looking to protect your immune system this season, remember not to neglect the basics: eat fresh, nourishing foods, get plenty of sleep and manage those stress levels the best you can.
Go with HUM Nutrition’s Immunity Trio to support your immune system from all sides. The supplement set includes Here Comes The Sun with vitamin D3, Gut Instinct probiotic blend and Air Patrol with vitamin C in the form of calcium ascorbate.
TCM Reader Exclusive: Get 20% off your first HUM Nutrition order with code CHALKBOARD.
Sources: “Vitamin D and Health.” Harvard School of Public Health. Robbins JA, et al. “Women’s Health Initiative clinical trials: interaction of calcium and vitamin D with hormone therapy.” Menopause. February 2014. PubMed. NCBI. NLM. NHI.
“Vitamin D – effects on skeletal and extraskeletal health and the need for supplementation.” Nutrients. 2013. Wacker M, Holick MF.
This story is brought to you in partnership with HUM Nutrition. The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.