Supplemental Vitamins: The Importance of Vitamin C and D
Vitamins have previously been used as a “one size fits all” type of product so there is little detail on what specific reasons specific vitamins should be used for specific diseases or health issues.
I will try to explain smart, targeted vitamin use in this blog based on current science, biology and physiology. We should also keep in mind that too much of anything (even vitamins) can cause a potentially bad response.
There is too much information on vitamins to include in a single article so let’s discuss the importance of Vitamin C and D:
- Improved energy
- Improved immune response to colds and infections
- Improved heart health
- Improved bone strength
Importance of Vitamin C
The most popular vitamin consumed in the world is likely Vitamin C – also known as Ascorbic Acid.
We know that the main natural source is fruits and vegetables. It is important for building collagen which is part of all connective tissues in the body – skin, muscle, joints, and cartilage. We frequently read that Vitamin C is also important in promoting a strong immune system, but we rarely hear specifically why. Here is the theory.
There are 2 important parts to the immune system:
- Innate Immunity – existing cells in your body that attack any foreign substance, virus or bacteria
- Adaptive Immunity – cells called B cells and T cells that “read” a foreign invader, virus, bacteria or other infection and produce a specific immune response to destroy the invader
Another phrase we hear often is that Vitamin C is the “stress control” vitamin.
This has a scientific basis as well. When your body is under stress it releases Stress Hormones that try to protect the body, but these hormones can also increase the tendency for Diabetes, Obesity and Anxiety.
High doses of Vitamin C have been shown to limit the over-production of these Stress Hormones which maintains the normal body functions of natural hormone production. These normal functions are proper sugar metabolism, healthy sleep and normal sex hormone production.
Importance of Vitamin D
The recent findings regarding Vitamin D over the last decade have changed the approach to many chronic diseases – Including several cancers. We know that we get Vitamin D from the Sun, but that is only the first part of the process in its development. What actually occurs is that sunlight (morning sunlight) activates a sterol in your skin. This sterol then goes to the liver and is converted to the various Vitamin D forms which are actually hormones, not vitamins!
Important Functions of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is found in many of the cells of the innate immune system. Remember, these are the immune cells that are always working to fight infections. These are the first line of defense for your body while it develops specific defenses (antibodies) which kill viruses and bacteria more precisely.
Equally important is Vitamin D’s role in controlling autoimmune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. This vitamin helps to limit the inflammation caused by an overactive immune system and lessen symptoms and severity of these diseases.
- Lung Function
Vitamin D deficiencies in humans results in lower air volumes of the lungs. Less volume results in less oxygen to your organs. Vitamin D also regulates the inflammatory reaction of the lungs. When the lungs become inflamed by bacteria and viruses, bronchitis and pneumonia can develop.
Low Vitamin D levels have been found to be a major factor in patients with COVID-19 who require ventilators and who do not survive the Coronavirus. People who smoke or have asthma or who live with very polluted air should be especially concerned with keeping high levels of Vitamin D.
- Heart Disease
In summary, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the importance of these two essential vitamins in the health, disease prevention and healing processes of the human body beyond surviving Coronavirus infection. We should take these lessons and see where they apply to the risks in our own lives depending on where we live, what environmental stresses we are exposed to and pertaining to our own concerns about longevity and good health.
I hope this article helps you understand the importance of Vitamin C and D for your continuing health and wellbeing.