Vitamin D plays role in immunity

Nutritional supplements with vitamin D can help immunityA study, set to appear in the November 15 issue of the Journal of Immunology, reports that vitamin D activation, once thought to only occur in the kidneys, also occurs in the lung airway cells aiding in immune defense.

Vitamin D has long been known to help in calcium absorption and bone health, but recently the nutritional supplements have been touted for its benefits in the immune system. These recent findings suggest that Vitamin D which is activated in lung airway cells helps in lung health.

“Vitamin D converted by the kidneys circulates in the bloodstream, but vitamin D converted by other organs appears to stay within those organs and protect them from infection,” said Dr. Sif Hansdottir, the study’s lead author and fellow in internal medicine in the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. “We were able to see this happen in cells lining the trachea and main bronchi.”

It was also discovered that when lungs are affected by a virus, the body releases more of the enzyme that activates vitamin D thereby killing bacteria and reducing inflammation.

Vitamin D is essential in the absorption of calcium, resulting in strong bones, but research has found it may also help protect the body from osteoporosis, hypertension, cancer and a number of auto-immune diseases.