Vitamin D and its Role In Our Immune Systems

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Our immune system is important when it comes to keeping us healthy.  It defends the body from foreign organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi.  The immune system fights off our illnesses while maintaining tolerance, and it generally is the driving force as to what keeps our body going and protects us from infection.  There are many parts to the immune system but here’s a brief list of some important components..

Adenoids. Two glands located at the back of the nasal passage.

Blood vessels. The arteries, veins, and capillaries through which blood flows.

Bone marrow. The soft, spongy tissue found in bone cavities.

Lymph nodes. Small organs shaped like beans, which are located throughout the body and connect via the lymphatic vessels.

Lymphatic vessels. A network of channels throughout the body that carries lymphocytes to the lymphoid organs and bloodstream.

Peyer’s patches. Lymphoid tissue in the small intestine.

Spleen. A fist-sized organ located in the abdominal cavity.

Thymus. Two lobes that join in front of the trachea behind the breastbone.

Tonsils. Two oval masses in the back of the throat.

You all are versed in the workings of our immune system and how it works, maybe not what each of those components listed above does specifically however.  And there’s one up on that list we want to take a closer look at – our Bone marrow.

What is bone marrow and what role does it play in our immune system?

We mentioned it briefly, but bone marrow is the spongy tissue inside our bones.  But what exactly does it do? In short, it produces red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells.

Red Blood cells carry the oxygen to our body, platelets help our blood coagulate to help stop bleeding, and white blood cells are the ones that help our body fight against infection…a key component to our immune system.  “Lymphocytes, neutrophils, and monocytes. These white blood cells fight against invading bacteria, viruses, or fungi to help destroy infection. Each of these cells differs in appearance.”

Our bone marrow, and our overall bone health, is crucial to our immune system – and a really tried and true method of improving our bone health is Vitamin D.  It’s extremely well documented the effects that Vitamin D have on our bones. Vitamin D enhances absorption of calcium in the small intestine and stimulates osteoclast differentiation and calcium reabsorption of bone.

Consuming foods high in Vitamin D such as fatty fish like tuna and salmon, cheese, eggs, milk, spinach, and kale will all help with your overall bone health – which in turn can help promote a stronger immune system! This is definitely recommended in these winter months because one other way to get Vitamin D is sunlight! Another good way of getting enough Vitamin D is with supplementation through a soft-gel of 2000 IU (International Units) per day which is usually sufficient for any adult. So be sure to include some of those foods or supplements into your diet during the winter months to help keep your Vitamin D levels adequate, and your immune system in good shape!

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