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New study explains why vitamin D benefits immune health

Category: Vitamin D Deficiency-Diagnosis and Treatment

Individuals who are prone to getting sick may benefit from seeking blood testing to measure their vitamin D levels. New research indicates that this nutrient plays an important role in fighting off viral infections.

Numerous studies have shown that vitamin D plays an important role in supporting immune health. However, few other investigations have provided such specifics about the mode of operation that allows the nutrient to confer these benefits.

In the study, researchers from the University of Cantabria in Spain measured vitamin D levels of groups of participants who were young adults, middle aged and seniors. Older participants tended to have the lowest vitamin D levels. This corresponded to a decrease in the activity of receptors on immune system cells that are supposed to activate when the body is threatened by viral infection.

The researchers said this may help explain why people are much more likely to get sick during the winter. Most people get the majority of their vitamin D from sun exposure, but there is less ultraviolet light available when days are shorter and the sun is at its weakest.

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