Vitamin D’s role does not just end in regulating calcium in the body. It also acts as a host defense against bacterial infection. This is due to its immune-boosting abilities.

“Almost every tissue and cell in the body has receptors for vitamin D, which means that every tissue and cell needs vitamin D to function maximally,” says Dr. Michael F. Holick, a vitamin D researcher at Boston University.

The Body’s Defense

Inflammation is a normal occurrence in the body. It helps defeat bacterial infections and destroys tumors. Your body has an ingenious way of responding to a bruise or a cut. Blood flow increases at the injury site; this provides white blood cells which neutralizes any present bacteria in the area, thereby preventing infection. The area is then sealed off by other proteins to prevent the spreading of germs. Your skin feels warm around the inflamed area since metabolic rate is increased by the body in order to speed up the repair. There is pain and healing. This is a normal process in the body. Absence of this can be categorized as one the vitamin D deficiency symptoms.

Pregnancy complications are also signs of vitamin D deficiency. This is usually caused by bacterial infections in the vagina. Women with higher intake of vitamin D are less likely to develop such infections compared to women who do have lower levels. Research has revealed that higher levels of vitamin D decrease the chances of acquiring these infections.

Moreover, William B. Grant of the Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center in San Francisco reported that premature birth risks are reduced with adequate intake of this vitamin. In his recent paper, findings include targeting placental colonization by bacterial species commonly found in bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is a common infection in the vagina, although its origin does not naturally exist in the area. Overgrowth can mean pain, itching, odor and discharge. It is not usually considered a serious issue except for the case of pregnant women, since it has been associated with early delivery. It could also increase the risk of acquiring and/or transmitting HIV. Targeting placental colonization does not just reduce premature birth risks but inflammations for following pregnancies as well. Lack of vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy increases the risk of BV.

Sufficient vitamin D intake is recommended by doctors for pregnant women in general. Intentionally, the immune system of a pregnant mother functions less than what it is accustomed to. This is in order for the fetus not to be rejected by the mother’s own immune system. This temporary state therefore, opens doors for bacteria to flourish. This simple fact has been established and proven. The health benefits for vitamin D to your immune system include enhancing it when it is at its lowest and cooling it down when the body experiences an irregular hype. Pregnant women require up to 6,400 IU of vitamin D per day, according to Holick. Although they are not cures, vitamins help prevent infections and also in the recovery from these infections.

Through the introduction of cathelicidin and defensins, vitamin D reduces the risk of bacterial infections and several types of diseases associated with them. This includes dental caries, pneumonia, severe sepsis, rheumatoid arthritis and tuberculosis.

Many individuals do not get enough of vitamin D to enhance their immune systems, especially those living near the North Pole. This is where the radiation that produces vitamin D is nonexistent. Inadequate food sources may also affect vitamin D levels. The best food sources include all types of fortified milk, cod liver oil, cooked salmon and mackerel.

Author's Bio: 

Oktay likes to write about supplements and nutrition. In his website, he gives details on vitamins, minerals and various health products.