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Vitamin D deficiency is why you get flu and other infections

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A new study led by researchers at the University of Copenhagen has confirmed that vitamin D plays an important role in activating immune defenses against infectious diseases like flu.

Vitamin D deficiency has already been linked to a wide spectrum of diseases including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, autoimmune disease and many others.

The study published in the latest edition of Nature Immunology discovers that activation of T-cells to fight infections needs definite help from vitamin D.

Carsten Geisler and colleagues, study authors, explained the role vitamin D plays in the immune responses as follows.

First when the naive T cell recognizes foreign invaders like bacteria or viruses with T cell receptor (TCR), it sends activating signals (1) to the vitamin D receptor gene. The VDR gene then starts producing DVR protein, which binds vitamin D in the T cell (3) and becomes activated. Then the vitamin D bound and activated DVR gets into the cell nucleus and activates the gene for PLC-gamma1 (5), which in turn produces PLC-gamma1 protein (6) and "the T cells can get started".

In the case of flu fighting, Dr. John Cannell and his colleagues have reported that vitamin D helps produce antibacterial peptides that help protect against flu.  That is why in winter people are prone to becoming vitamin D deficiency and getting infected with flu viruses.

Dr. Cannell, a vitamin D expert and director of Vitamin D Council, says in his newsletter sent last year that two physicians, one in Wisconsin and the other in Georgia reported to him that few of their patients/residents who maintained a high level of serum vitamin d acquired swine flu last year while many of other patients and medical workers who did not take vitamin D to maintain high vitamin D levels got swine flu and other flu viruses.

By David Liu /Credit: Professor of Immunology, Carsten Geisler

 

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Subscribe to comments feed Comments (19 posted):

Thomas McComb on 03/07/2010 23:15:14
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I can attest to this anecdotally. I have been taking D3 daily, starting with 1000 units, now 2000, for a few years. Not one cold, no flu (Knock wood!) since. I used to average 2-3 colds a year. Coincidence? I think not.
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Azizul on 03/07/2010 23:28:09
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This is working for me. I do not get sick, period. Rememder do not take it with codliver oil which is high in vitanin A
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Tom on 03/07/2010 23:42:39
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There's lots and lots of really good evidence to support the favorable spotlight vitamin D has been in lately. (Particularly D3). One tiny tad of caution however: If you tend to go for too much of a good thing (like I do), then beware the temptation to massively overdo the D. Some potential there for negatives, such as hypercalcemia.
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Sarah on 03/07/2010 23:45:48
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After working with kids for years, I should be immune to practically everything, but I get sick much more than my colleages. When my mom had to take prescription vitamin D, my doctor had me checked... one third the minimum of normal. This may explain some things.
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Ronald on 03/08/2010 00:17:44
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I can attest to this emphatically. Not only does vitamin D help fight colds and the flu virus, but I also suffered for years with anal fissures and rectal bleeding. after taking vitamin d, for three days, it cleared up and I have not bled or been sick ever since. It has now been three weeks and I feel fantastic.
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Anon on 03/08/2010 00:31:10
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To all those supplement takers, would it not be more enjoyable to sip a glass of milk whilst grilling some salmon in a little sunlight ?
Haha I think that it would be a little more fun at any rate =D
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Mack on 03/08/2010 00:35:38
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It's free: your body makes it when sunlight touches your skin. Drug companies can't sell you sunlight, so there's no promotion of its health benefits
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cowl on 03/08/2010 00:43:36
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@Ronald

TMI!!!!!
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JOE on 03/08/2010 00:55:19
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vitamin d can HELP but its not a cure or the cure all it just helps is all
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GregX on 03/08/2010 00:56:02
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Vit D is a fat soluble vitamin that you must consume enough of in your diet. Then your body converts it to D2 and in the skin to D3 with enough sun exposure.
Our diets are much lower in animal fats than in the past so check a level and if it is too low, supplement it was D3 and avoid developing melanoma, which is on the rise.
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Brian MI on 03/08/2010 00:57:28
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Draw a line from east to west that runs through Atlanta. If you live north of that line then you pretty much get zero Vitamin D benefit from the sun from late fall to early spring. Why? Because the angle at which the sun strikes the earth at that time of year filters out almost all of the UVB radiation. UVB (not UVA) is the component used by the body to manufacturer Vitamin D.

Thus if you live in the north you either a) need to supplment with a quality Vitamin D supplement or b) need to go tanning in a UVB tanning bed twice a week for about 8 minutes per session.

Don't go for the "high pressure" tanning beds. The tanning places will tell you that they have a higher concentration of the "better for you" non-burning rays. These are UVA rays and they do NOT produce Vitamin D.

Also, make sure that you follow up every tanning session with good skin moisturization. High quality, hemp based lotion is good, but the best thing you can put on your skin is all natural, organic, cold-pressed coconut oil. This stuff is borders on miraculous. You have to look for it in the nutrition SUPPLEMENT section of your local health food store. It's not next to the olive oil.
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Jay on 03/08/2010 01:07:16
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To Anon @8/3/2010 @1:31 and Mack -

You are both right to point to the sun. Our bodies are designed to manufacture vitamin D in the presense of sunlight, more specificially through exposure to ultraviolet-B irradiation.

The problem is that during the winter months there simply isn't enough UV-B making it through the atmosphere at latitudes above/below the equator. You could stand in the sun all day naked in Boston in December and not manufacture enough vitamin D to meet your body's needs.

Milk (in the U.S. anyway) is fortified with vitamin D, and wild-caught (NOT farm-raised) salmon do have some vitamin D in them. But the amounts are rather small. Average adults need to take between 1000-2000 I.U. of D3 to raise their serum vitamin D levels to between 40-60 ng/ml, which is now considered the desireable range for sufficiency. Some need more (in my case, I have to take 6000 I.U. to reach 55 ng/ml!)

Check out Dr. Cannell's site. Another good one is GrassrootsHealth (Google it). More interesting research is coming to light every day on this long-ignored vitamin.
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Lucille MacPherson on 03/25/2010 13:00:55
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I recently spent 3 weeks in hospital recovering from blood clot surgery. Throughout that time, there was always a concern over acquiring hospital infections. Early on I had requested my usual 2000 iu Vitamin D 3 and OF COURSE was released with NO infections. I wondered why ALL incoming patients were not precribed D3 when they entered the hospital , just as a precaution. Because I have taken D3 for several years, I never once doubted that I would leave all their germs and viruses back there to STAY with them.
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Bobby on 08/16/2010 15:13:42
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That's very interesting, I knew about Vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sun and eating certain vegetables, but I never knew it could lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, and autoimmune disease. It's a big scare, I'll have to increase my vegetable and vitamin intake.
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Lis on 09/08/2010 05:33:28
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Although I spent a lot of time out in my garden, I was diagnosed with extreme vitamin D deficiency a few years ago after I developed auto-immune disease and osteopenia. I live in the northern US. This article is interesting because I just recently had realized I am getting sick much less often since my vitamin D levels have been up to normal. I used to get sick constantly and get very sick.
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discount supplements on 09/25/2010 04:51:44
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Valuable information! Looking forward to seeing your notes posted.
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Live TV Channels on 10/02/2010 10:04:44
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really useful info, keep up the good work!
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Silver Water on 12/13/2010 22:53:03
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Vitamins and minerals are so important to body functions and body protection. My father, who is a physician, researches vitamin D consumption, and he has told me pretty much everything you've said in this article. A lot of adults are deficient in vitamin D.
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Live TV Channels on 01/22/2015 20:19:15
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i read articles this is very informative good job thanks
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