Who says we have to suffer...to live a healthy happy vibrant life?

Red wine and dark chocolate... might seem decadent...but these guilty pleasures also might help us live longer...and healthier lives. Red wine and dark chocolate definitely improve an evening..but they also contain resveratrol..which lowers blood sugar. Red wine is a great source of catechins..which boost protective HDL cholesterol. Green tea? Protects your brain..helps you live longer..and soothes your spirit.

Food for Thought, the blog, is about living the good life...a life we create with our thoughts and our choices...and having fun the whole while!

I say lets make the thoughts good ones..and let the choices be healthy...exciting...and delicious! Bon Appetit!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Why We Need Immune-Boosting Vitamin D Right Now

Immune-boosting vitamin D3 is extremely important right now. But why stop at vitamin D? I also advise daily doses of vitamin C, magnesium, omega-3s, and NAC.

Here’s why vitamin D3 is at the top of the list. It plays a central role in supporting our immune system, making all of our immune cells more toxic against invading pathogens. Our white blood cells make chemicals called cytotoxins. These frontline immune cells engulf bacteria or viruses and use those cytotoxins to kill the invaders. 

The role of vitamin D is this: cytotoxins are more lethal to pathogens when vitamin D levels are higher. Vitamin D also facilitates the maturation of monocytes (juvenile white blood cells) into macrophages (the white blood cells that gobble up pathogens and then destroy them).

Vitamin D3 also promotes our body’s production of cathelicidins and defensins, antimicrobial immune warriors that help keep our lungs safe from viral and bacterial infections. Cathelicidin overpowers respiratory viruses like influenza A, which may explain the seasonal fluctuation in influenza that follows the seasonal strength of sunlight, our native source of vitamin D. Cathelicidin also defeats the tuberculosis bacterium which may explain why, in earlier times, people who had tuberculosis were sent to sunnier climates and their health improved.
We are facing a pandemic now, involving a novel coronavirus that attacks the lungs and sometimes leads to severe pneumonia or even acute respiratory distress syndrome in a minority of vulnerable persons. For some, the infection is mild, for others it can be fatal. 
While there have not yet been studies using vitamin D against this coronavirus, there is reason to be positive about the protection vitamin D might offer. Previous studies have shown us that through multiple mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce the risk of infections. Those mechanisms include inducing the previously mentioned cathelicidins and defensins. They can lower viral replication rates and reduce concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines (chemicals produced by our cells) that produce the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs, leading to pneumonia. 
Cathelicidins and defensins also increase concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines. Since one of the observations in the current pandemic is of overactive immune responses, described as “cytokine storms,” vitamin D’s ability to calm the storm and return the immune response to balance may prove to be crucial.
Experts such as members of the Vitamin D Council suggest that during the next several months to possibly years, we should strive to get our serum vitamin D levels to a target of 40-60 ng/mL. Normal 25OH D levels range between 30 ng/mL and 100 ng/mL.
On average, adults need a daily intake of 5,000-10,000 IU of vitamin D3 to achieve a serum level in the midrange of normal, or 40-60 ng/mL
Please note magnesium supplementation is recommended when taking vitamin D supplements. Magnesium helps activate vitamin D, which in turn helps regulate calcium and phosphate homeostasis to influence the growth and maintenance of bones. All of the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D seem to require magnesium, which acts as a cofactor in the enzymatic reactions in the liver and kidneys. The dose of magnesium should be in the range of 250–500 mg/d, along with twice that dose of calcium.