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Vitamin D & Immune Health

Vitamin D & Immune Health

by Eva Molloy | 14th Oct 2021

As the days get colder (brr!) and we come into the Autumn and Winter months, we are more susceptible to catching the flu or the common cold. There's no doubt that in the past year we've become more aware of keeping our immune systems strong and healthy and we know that our nutrition plays a huge part in helping to fight off infection and improving immunity.

It’s important to be mindful of what foods we are eating, in order to get adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals, to improve our natural defences. One important vitamin that we need to look out for is Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and is produced and synthesised in our skin when we are exposed to direct sunlight. We can also get vitamin D from certain foods but it is difficult to get it from food alone. 

How much Vitamin D do we need?

In Ireland, Vitamin D deficiency is very common, as it’s difficult to get enough from food alone. Therefore, it’s important to take a supplement during the colder months, from October to March.

Getting enough Vitamin D is vital for many functions such as improving our immune system and maintaining healthy bones. The recommended daily amount of Vitamin D is 10 micrograms (mg) or 400IU, per day for people aged between 4 and 70 years old.

People who are at risk of vitamin D deficiency include:

  • -People who don’t spend time outdoors
  • -Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding 
  • -People aged 65 and over
  • -Babies and young children who spend less time outside

These at-risk groups should consider taking a vitamin D supplement of 10mg all year round.

Can Vitamin D boost our Immune System?

Our Immune system protects our bodies from unwanted pathogens and toxins. There is a lot of research to suggest that vitamin D is effective in boosting our immune system. It does this by improving the role of our immune, the T cells and B cells. These are the cells that fight off infection and prevent various diseases.

Does Vitamin D protect against Covid-19? 

There has been talk that vitamin D helps prevent the risks of developing Covid, however many reports have shown inconclusive and there is not enough evidence to suggest that taking Vitamin D supplements can reduce the risks of or treat COVID. However,

What About Food? 

We can get some vitamin D from foods but it is difficult to get enough from food alone. Good food sources include:

  • Oily fish and cod liver oil
  • Egg yolks
  • Liver
  • Fortified drinks and foods
  • Mushrooms grown in UV light

Why not use our Gourmet Fuel meals to get your boost of vitamin D. Our Almond and Sesame Salmon with Sweet Potato is one of our favourite vitamin D rich lunches!

References:

https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/vitamin-d.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/

https://mynutriweb.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/FV-vitamin-D-and-immune-health.pdf

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