Also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D is the nutrient that our body produces whenever we get directly exposed to the sun. Many people know it as a nutrient that helps with normal growth and bone development, especially in growing children.
But contrary to popular belief, vitamin D is much more than that. In fact, studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency can be linked to weak immune systems, heightened risk to lung diseases, and slow recovery times for sick patients.
How vitamin D affects lung health
Although the relationship between vitamin D and our respiratory system is not exactly new knowledge, there are still plenty of things left to be explored regarding this topic. One study conducted by a team from John Hopkins University School of Medicine proved that vitamin D does in fact affect lung health.
In the study, the researchers repeatedly collected blood samples from a total of 6,302 participants at set intervals within a period of 10 years. 2,051 of these participants were found to have a vitamin D deficiency. After 10 years, 2,688 of the participants were given full lung CT scans to see if the researchers could find any lung damage of abnormalities.
Unsurprisingly, the participants who were vitamin D deficient were also found to show early signs of possibly developing Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD), a large group of lung disorders that can permanently affect respiratory functions.
How vitamin D can help speed up recovery
Studies have also shown that vitamin D can help aid in faster recovery from illnesses and even muscle pain. In one study conducted on a global scale, researchers administered vitamin D supplements to almost 11,000 participants from 25 countries. The results showed that the supplements reduced the risk of catching a cold or getting the flu by as high as 50%. Further studies showed that those who still got sick but had higher levels of vitamin D recovered faster.
Another study attempted to use vitamin D as a prophylaxis for influenza. While the results were not entirely conclusive, the study suggested that vitamin D should be further evaluated since it still showed promising results. It ended by saying that vitamin D as a component in treatment programs could possibly reduce the rate of influenza mortality, especially in older people.
When it comes down to it, getting sufficient vitamin D isn’t really a difficult task. You can boost your vitamin D levels by spending more time under the sun and eating more food rich in vitamin D. If it helps, you can even take supplements to make sure you’re getting enough of this sunshine vitamin!
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