The Link Between Vitamin D and Reduced Inflammatory Diseases: Exploring the Connection

by Dr. Nick Zyrowski July 31, 2023

There are some important findings regarding Vitamin D and its relationship to inflammation. This was something we didn’t hear much about previously, but health professionals are beginning to understand more about the crucial role vitamin D plays in the health of your body. How essential is this vitamin when it comes to your immune system? Let’s look at what the research shows and how you can incorporate more of it into your daily routine for the best results.

The sunshine vitamin

Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin because we can absorb it from the sun. Vitamin D is a nutrient and a hormone your body makes. It’s fat-soluble and crucial for many bodily processes, like building strong bones and controlling infections. (1) Many of your organs have receptors for vitamin D, which shows you how much your body needs it.

Another reason this is considered the sunshine vitamin is that few foods contain it, making getting enough of it through diet difficult. It’s recommended that you spend around thirty minutes each day in direct sunlight, but that’s not always easy. Sometimes climates and schedules aren’t conducive to spending that much time outside. Most of us work indoors and rarely even take a walk outside.The easiest way for many of us to get an adequate amount is through a quality vitamin D supplement.

Vitamin D deficiency

We’ve mentioned that it’s hard to get the proper levels of vitamin D through food intake alone. It’s also rare that we spend enough time in direct sunlight to obtain adequate amounts. It’s easy to see why many people are deficient in this crucial nutrient. It’s been estimated that around one billion people have a vitamin D deficiency, so this has become a serious matter. (2)

How much do you need?

If you wonder how you can tell if you’re deficient, a simple blood test can show you. When you get your results, you want to aim for an optimal range. That number is around 100 for your body to thrive. It can be hard to know exactly how much you should take depending on what’s happening in your body at the time. We do know that higher doses are being studied and shown to help many inflammatory issues. Once you know your levels, you can customize how much you should take each day. (3) A functional medicine doctor can help you pinpoint the exact dosage, but many people seem to do best with around 4,000-5,000 IUs per day. It’s also best to take it with vitamin K2 for best absorption, while preventing arterial calcification.

Proven effects on inflammation

If you’re on the fence about taking vitamin D, this article will show proven reasons why you should be sure you get optimal amounts. Studies have shown a direct correlation between vitamin D and the reduction of inflammation caused by T cells. (4) T cells are crucial cells for the immune system.

Changes in vitamin D levels are associated with numerous inflammatory diseases. Problems like inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis have all shown a link to low vitamin D levels in the body. Why is this the case? Well, it appears that vitamin D signaling modulates inflammatory responses, including the regulation of the genes that generate pro-inflammatory mediators. Simply put, vitamin D targets specific tissues and cell types, many of which belong to your immune system. (5) It plays a regulatory role in your immune system and how it responds to threats.

Inflammation reduction

Now that we know how vitamin D interacts with your body, let’s explore why that matters with inflammatory diseases. We’ve discussed how many illnesses are caused by inflammation in the body. Autoimmune diseases are a direct result of too much chronic inflammation. When tracing the history of many inflammatory diseases, it’s been found that they’re preceded by a pro-inflammatory metabolic serum profile. (6) That means if you can decrease that inflammation, you can often reduce the symptoms of inflammatory diseases, and sometimes rid your body of them altogether.

Specific health conditions

There are some specific health problems that we know vitamin D can help. When we talk about inflammation, many people don’t understand how it relates to illnesses. Your body was designed to respond to perceived threats with inflammation as a means to heal. Chronic inflammation is not helpful and can be dangerous, leading to many diseases, even some that you may have right now. (7)

Type 2 diabetes

A vitamin D deficiency can affect the biochemical pathways associated with developing Type 2 diabetes. That includes the impairment of the function of cells in the pancreas, which leads to insulin resistance and inflammation.

Heart disease

Your heart is a large muscle that has receptors for vitamin D. Since immune and inflammatory cells that play a role in conditions like atherosclerosis are regulated by vitamin D, it makes sense those appropriate levels help prevent heart issues. Vitamin D also keeps your arteries relaxed, which controls high blood pressure.

Cancer

In some studies, patients living in colder climates were shown to have more incidents of different types of cancer. That may be due to the sun’s UVB rays being weaker at higher altitudes. The studies lead some to believe there is a relationship between low levels of vitamin D and cancer.

Immune function

Research is ongoing, but many scientists and healthcare professionals now believe a vitamin D deficiency can either cause or add to an increased risk for many autoimmune diseases. For instance, the rate of MS is increasing and the instances are much higher in colder areas than the warmer climates. This observation again shows that there could be a relationship between low vitamin D and illness.

Cognitive decline

Studies are now showing there could be a higher risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease when your vitamin D levels are too low. After testing, the results showed a substantially increased risk of all-cause dementia and Alzheimer’s when patients did not have adequate levels of vitamin D in their blood. (8)

Symptoms of deficiency

Although a serum blood test is the best way to know your vitamin D levels, there are some symptoms of a deficiency. If you have any of these, you may want to increase your vitamin D intake:

  • Fatigue
  • Mood changes like depression or anxiety
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle aches or weakness
  • Constant infections like the flu or colds

Staying healthy in today’s world

Although scientific studies are showing more and more how effective natural methods are for wellness, you won’t see any commercials for vitamin D. This is an inexpensive way to gain better health, and it won’t cost you hundreds of dollars. In today’s environment, we are told that we need a pharmaceutical drug for every ailment. That’s simply not the case, and we want to put your health back in your control. You can take an at-home test that will show you exactly what your vitamin D result is, and then you’ll know how much you should take. Functional medicine is about finding natural ways to pinpoint the root cause of what’s happening in your body and then treating it through holistic means. Contact us or check out our website for more resources on obtaining your best health without the dangers of prescription medication. We have different programs to fit your needs no matter where you are in your health journey.

References :

https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2021/Q4/researchers-study-the-link-between-vitamin-d-and-inflammation.html

https://journals.plos.org/plospathogens/article?id=10.1371/journal.ppat.1008874

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2014.00244/full

https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/4/e010804

https://www.dovepress.com/the-relationship-between-vitamin-d-and-infections-including-covid-19-a-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-IJGM

https://www.unisa.edu.au/media-centre/Releases/2022/down-on-vitamin-d-it-could-be-the-cause-of-chronic-inflammation/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fendo.2022.920340/full#:~:text=It%20has%20been%20confirmed%20that,and%20affect%20selected%20haematological%20indices.

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/#:~:text=It%20is%20a%20fat%2Dsoluble,control%20infections%20and%20reduce%20inflammation.

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15050-vitamin-d-vitamin-d-deficiency#:~:text=Vitamin%20D%20deficiency%20is%20a%20common%20global%20issue.,States%20have%20vitamin%20D%20deficiency.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4153851/

Dr. Nick Zyrowski
Dr. Nick Zyrowski



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