Winter is almost over, but with winter months come more illness. There are good reasons why we tend to see more illness during the winter months. One of those reasons is lower Vitamin D levels. As spring approaches it is vital you get your Vitamin D levels back to their optimal levels.

Humans are supposed to get over 90% of their vitamin D from the sun (diet provides very little), and the recommended Daily Value (or previously the RDA) assumed that most people received plenty of vitamin D from the sun. Our ancestors (both ancient and recent) spent a lot of time outdoors in the sun. However, in today’s modern world many people do not get enough vitamin D even during the summer months. People living in northern locales get even less. If you haven’t had your vitamin D levels checked (and most people have not) we highly recommend asking your New Leaf Provider about it. In America, most people test insufficient or deficient for this important vitamin. It is thought that most people need from 7,500-20,000 IUs per day (from all sources, including sun) to meet our needs; we need more when we’re sick or stressed.

Vitamin D helps our immune systems stay balanced during the cold and flu season. There are Vitamin D receptors and activating enzymes on the surfaces of all White Blood Cells. The role that vitamin D plays in keeping the immune system healthy is very complex because the immune system has to be perfectly balanced. If there is too much stimulation, autoimmune diseases can set in. If there is not enough immune system activity, frequent infections can occur.

Low levels of vitamin D have been linked with both extremes, including being associated with worsening autoimmune diseases. Low levels of vitamin D are not the underlying cause of the autoimmune disease, but low levels of vitamin D can make autoimmune disease states worse. Low levels of vitamin D have also been associated with frequent infections. In 2009, the National Institute of Health warned that low vitamin D levels are associated with frequent colds and influenza.

So it appears that vitamin D helps keep the immune system balanced much like a gymnast walking on a balance beam. It is important that daily and weekly vitamin D supplementation help keep your immune system balanced during the cold and flu season.