The deficiency of Vitamin D is concerning as it plays an important role in many areas of our health. It contributes to bone strength, heart health, and cancer prevention. And, it plays a huge role in your immune system and can be a determining factor in whether or not you develop an Autoimmune Disease.
Vitamin D works as a kind of light switch in your body, turning on or off genes and processes that your body needs to maintain health. Active Vitamin D is sent to many different areas of your body, including your bones, intestines, colon, brain, and immune cells, which all have Vitamin D receptors. The active Vitamin D binds with these receptors and promotes Vitamin D responsive genes, essentially turning them on.
Sufficient levels of Vitamin D reduce your risk of infectious disease by strengthening your innate immune system. Vitamin D turns on key peptides in your immune system that trigger a strong anti-microbial response, allowing you to quickly and effectively fight off invaders before they can develop into a full-blown infection.
Autoimmune diseases arise when your immune system is confused or overly stressed and begins attacking your own tissues instead of outside pathogens. Vitamin D prevents this by promoting regulatory T cells, which are responsible for accurately differentiating between outside invaders and “self” cells. When active Vitamin D promotes them, it essentially makes your immune system smarter, teaching it to not attack itself and preventing the development of an autoimmune disease.
There are a number of studies demonstrating higher rates of autoimmune disease, as well as a greater rate of autoimmune disease progression, among people with Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays a huge role in your body, and it is important to maintain sufficient levels to prevent infectious disease and autoimmune disease.
I see many patients who are Vitamin D Deficient and are unaware this is causing health problems. Most Doctors will not check your vitamin levels unless you specificaly ask. I encourage you all the next time you are having a physical, get your vitamin levels checked. Specifically the Vitamin D 25-Hydroxy Blood Test.