March 07, 2010
Vitamin D Needed For Immune T Cell Activation

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, 'nave' 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

Ron Paul, M.D. said at March 7, 2010 9:43 PM:

I make sure to supplement with Vitamin D. The remaining question is how much? You can't just look at the RDA; it's "official" advice that warned us to avoid the sun at all costs, even though it prevents more cancer than it causes.

Among the cows in Iowa said at March 8, 2010 1:53 PM:

Maybe this is why I have not had the flu or even a cold this winter, despite not getting a flu shot.

Mike said at March 8, 2010 3:20 PM:

Most people in the life extension community are taking 5,000-10,000 IUs a day. I take 6,000 myself.

Lono said at March 9, 2010 10:39 AM:

Just to be clear - are we talking D3 or regular D or a mixture of both?

I currently take D in through a daily multi - and my diet - while supplementing another 2500-5000 IUs of D3 in liquid gel pill a day.

Is there any concern of going up to or above 10,000 IU's a day of D3?

Jerry Martinson said at March 9, 2010 9:45 PM:

This makes a lot more sense than the what our great grandparents did. They were so dumb that they used to have people with tuberculosis sit outside in the sun in the sanitoriums because they thought it would make them better....

Seems so obvious in retrospect that we missed the importance of vitamin D to the immune system and other things despite a very solid trail of evidence. I wonder if vitamin D supplementation could combat TB's spread in Russia.

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