How to boost your immune system this winter, for the whole family
In this blog we’re going to explore how vitamin D can support your immune system and boost your families immunity this winter, and all year round. We’ll explain how you can check your current levels and how best to boost your levels of vitamin D.
Issues arise when our immune system doesn’t have enough support from the necessary nutrients needed to keep it functioning optimally. A lack of key nutrients and chronic stress are two significant factors that negatively impact immune system function and weaken our immune defences. Let’s first look at the immune system in more detail and understand exactly what it is.
What is the immune system exactly?
The immune system is our inner army that defends us from a variety of invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, environmental chemicals and free radicals and ‘foreign’ proteins such as undigested food particles. It’s an extremely intelligent and highly complex multi-layered defence mechanism that works 24 hours a day surveilling our system, checking for invaders and ready to attack when needed.
The immune system’s outer defences consist of millions of free roaming cells that circulate in the bloodstream. If these cells find an invading organism, they bring it back to the lymph glands where fellow immune cells are waiting in the wings to fight. These fighting immune cells then start to multiply and release special molecules known as antibodies.
Antibodies attach themselves to invading bugs, which can stop some of the invaders completely but if not, the immune system sends in additional backup fighter cells, known as killer cells and macrophages, to gobble up the antibody and the invader in one go.
For the most part, no invaders make it past this point and we stay healthy and safe. Various factors impact how well these protective mechanisms work such as stress (physical, mental and emotional) and a lack of key immune system nutrients, such as zinc, selenium, vitamin C and vitamin D to name a few.
Strengthening your immune system with vitamin D
All cells in the immune system have receptors for vitamin D, which means these cells need it in order to function properly. Multiple studies into vitamin D show that it enhances immune system function, reduces viral growth and can lead to a reduction in upper respiratory infections - something more important than ever during the current pandemic.
The ‘sunshine’ vitamin
Vitamin D is often referred to as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin because the most potent source of vitamin D is the sun! Unfortunately, during the darker winter months we just are not getting anywhere near enough sunlight to boost our levels and even when we are outside in the winter sun we’re wrapped up leaving little skin exposed to absorb any vitamin D.
Scientists and researchers are learning more and more about this powerful nutrient every day. A study in 2012 looking at the role of vitamin D in the pathogenesis of influenza found it to reduce the risk of respiratory infections, particularly with regards to viral infections such as COVID-19.
So, How can you increase your vitamin D levels?
Alongside good old sunshine, there are a number of foods such as salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, sardines, liver and egg yolk that contain vitamin D however this is not likely to be enough to provide the optimal amounts that the body needs to properly support and boost immune system function.
At Junius, we recommend testing your vitamin D levels so you know your current status and from there you can supplement accordingly. You can ask your GP to test your levels or do it yourself using an at home finger prick test kit from vitamindtest.org or BetterYou.com. Research shows the ideal maintenance dose (to maintain already good levels) to be 2,000iu per day. However, if your levels are too low then you would likely need to double this daily dose for 6-8 weeks in order to get your levels within the optimal range. We recommend using drops rather than tablets or capsules for better absorbability.
The Junius ZAP D3 product is a concentrated and highly bioavailable liquid vitamin D supplement and just 1 drop provides 2000iu. Simply add one drop into a drink such as a Junius juice, or even just water, for all the family every day.
We hope this blog has helped you to better understand the power of vitamin D and has inspired you to add it to your immune support toolbox!
The Junius Team