Another reason to make sure you get enough vitamin D: the ability to respond to infections. Vitamin D plays a key role in activating killer T cells after those cells detect a viral or bacterial pathogen.
Scientists at the University of Copenhagen have discovered that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin, the killer cells of the immune system – T cells - will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body.
For T cells to detect and kill foreign pathogens such as clumps of bacteria or viruses, the cells must first be 'triggered' into action and 'transform' from inactive and harmless immune cells into killer cells that are primed to seek out and destroy all traces of a foreign pathogen.
The researchers found that the T cells rely on vitamin D in order to activate and they would remain dormant, 'naïve' to the possibility of threat if vitamin D is lacking in the blood.
It is worth noting in this context that influenza primarily spreads in the winter when people are getting less sun exposure and therefore less vitamin D synthesis in their skin. So during winter low vitamin D level might be contributing to the spread of flu virus due to lower immune function.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2010 March 07 09:02 PM Aging Immune System|