February 16, 2021: Classically, Vitamin D is known for supporting strong bones and muscles. The role of Vitamin D has expanded to include critical immune support according to multiple recent studies during the COVID pandemic. The Vitamin D receptor is expressed on T-cells, B-cells and other immunologic cells which is capable of synthesizing Vitamin D. Deficiencies in Vitamin D can increase susceptibility to infection, autoimmunity complications, diabetes, and even heart failure.
Cholesterol (7-dehydrocholesterol) in both eyes and skin can synthesize Vitamin D with exposure to Ultra Violet – B (UV-B) light from the sun. Scientists have found Vitamin D metabolites in the aqueous and vitreous humor and in tear fluid in the eyes of rabbits. They also discovered that free-ranging rabbits had more Vitamin D metabolites compared with that of indoor caged rabbits. Rabbit eyes and furless areas inside their pointy ears are likely the primary areas for Vitamin D synthesis in rabbits.
During the summertime when there are longer periods of UV-B rays from the sun, our exposed skin also absorbs Vitamin D that can be stored in fat cells. Of course, we are discussing moderate exposure to the sun including a balanced use of UV blocking devices (e.g., sunglasses and sun protective lotions). The UV-B rays are less intense in the northern latitudes during the winter plus we wear more clothes to reduce skin exposure to the chilly weather. If you can not take a “sun bath” for a few minutes each day, a daily supplement of Vitamin D is recommended.
All of the 2021 Pow-Ahh Immunity Series can be found here.
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