Vitamin D is important for a host of immune functions in your body. Vitamin D is critical to both the development and important tasks of your immune system. It is known that vitamin D is important in the defense functions that protect you from bacterial, viral and fungal infections. This important vitamin determines your number of natural killer (NK) cell and how well they perform, which are vital because they are the cells that attack viral infections and cancer cells. Vitamin D modulates your helper T cells – reducing inflammatory processes and increasing anti-inflammatory processes, which prevents chronic inflammation and autoimmunity.
How does this information affect your risk for developing autoimmune disease? It has long been known that certain infections are, and others may be, associated with autoimmune disease. If you have fewer infections, your risk of autoimmunity is reduced. How does this relate to the effect of NK cells? Viral infections that set up housekeeping in various cells of your body – hepatitis C, HIV, Epstein-Barr virus & others – increase the risk of autoimmunity (and cancer). So, the better your NK cells work, the less your risk of autoimmune disease (also decreasing risks of cancer, which can set off autoimmune disease). Lastly, with low vitamin D, your helper T cells are much more prone to initiate autoimmune processes and inflammation.
Low vitamin D and vitamin D resistance (genetic mutations in your vitamin D processing proteins) are strongly linked to Crohn’s Disease, Colitis and IBD, as well, as most Autoimmune Diseases. If you have IBD or any of a host of autoimmune diseases including Rheumatoid Arthritis, SLE, Hashimoto’s, Psoriasis, Vitiligo, MS, Myasthenia Gravis, etc. your risk of vitamin D resistance is increased. The more Autoimmune diseases you have the higher your likelihood of vitamin D resistance. If your vitamin D blood levels are low, then higher dosing of vitamin D is important. If you have vitamin D resistance (genetic mutations in one or more of your vitamin D processing proteins), then you need even higher dosing of vitamin D for it to work correctly – to let your immune cells work properly.
“What are vitamin D ‘processing proteins’ and how do they affect my risk?” The vitamin D measured in your blood is not the active form. It has to be activated to function in all of your cells, including your immune cells. You have a protein that converts it to its active form. You have a protein that carries it in your blood and is itself influential on your immune system. You have a protein vitamin D receptor where the activated vitamin D initiates its effect in your immune cells. And you have a protein that deactivates vitamin D. Each of these can have mutations in them that can increase your risk for IBD and autoimmunity even if you have high normal vitamin D blood levels. It does this by causing vitamin D resistance. There are numerous studies identifying the connections between these mutations, IBD and other autoimmune diseases.
“What can be done about this?” If you have Crohn’s, Colitis, IBD or any Autoimmune Disease, you can have certain testing done to see if your vitamin D levels are optimal in your blood. There are other tests that can determine if you have vitamin D resistance due to vitamin D processing protein mutations. If either of these are not optimal, they need to be corrected.
If you want your vitamin D measured, want to know if you have a vitamin D processing protein mutation, or want help with your MS or autoimmune disease, St. Petersburg Health & Wellness can help.
List of Autoimmune Conditions many of which are associated with low or low functional vitamin D levels: https://www.aarda.org/disease-list/
List of conditions associated with low or low functional vitamin D:
Autoimmune illness, Cancer, Chronic pain, Diabetes, Heart disease, Hyperparathyroidism, Hypertension, Mental illness, Multiple sclerosis, Muscle weakness and coordination, Obesity, Osteoarthritis.
At St. Petersburg Health & Wellness, we get to the underlying problems. Call us at 727-202-6807 to get better answers and…”Live Well”