11 Vitamins, Nutrients & Peptides That Boost Immune Function

While immunity is an important part of everyday life, it’s hasn’t always been front and center when people think about their overall health. However, that has changed in recent years. Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, many people have begun thinking more seriously about their immune health. After all, the immune system is the first line of defense against pathogens such as the one that causes COVID-19. 

With more people than ever now focused on this type of preventive health care – the type that aims to prevent bad infections as opposed to simply treating them – natural and dietary health avenues are being explored more frequently. Those natural avenues tend to center around nutrients from food and other supplementation that can help give the body a boost when it needs it most.

Why is immune function important in the winter?

The immune system is important all year round, but it’s especially vital during the cold months. This is often when cold and flu seasons are at their peak. To complicate things further, research shows that cold temperatures also suppresses the immune system and provides viruses with optimal living conditions. These two factors play a large role in why it’s vital to keep your immune system in tip-top shape throughout the winter months.

No one wants to fall ill, and making sure that the immune system is running at its best is the only way to ensure that even if you do come into contact with a flu, cold, or even COVID, your body is prepared to fight it off and bounce back.

Image by WikimediaImages on Pixabay: How do peptides help the immune system?

Peptides that boost immune function

Peptides are naturally occurring strings of amino acids that the body produces on its own. Unlike the typical amino acids that act as building blocks of protein, peptides are shorter chains, meaning they have fewer amino acids. That doesn’t mean they’re less important for health, just that they have different tasks to perform. One such task is making sure that the immune system gets the boost it needs to run properly.

Peptides naturally occur in the body; however, to boost your levels, you can eat foods that are high in protein such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs, whole grains, and beans. Peptides can also be found isolated in supplement form.

Some of the best peptides for immune health include:

Thymosin Alpha 1

Thymosin Alpha 1 is perhaps one of the most well-known peptides. It aids immune function and has also been used in the treatment of certain diseases. The peptide helps immune function by enhancing the action of immune cells known as killer T-cells so they’re better prepared to fight off infection.It also positively affects the action of dendric cells, which help to mediate the immune response on a cellular level.


Thymalin regulates the thymus, a gland that is key to producing T-lymphocytes, or immune cells, that aid in the adaptive immune response.Without proper amounts of this peptide, those cells will not be produced in adequate numbers and the immune system will suffer.


Also known as insulin growth factor one, IGF 1 binds to a receptor known as IGF 1R to encourage cell production throughout the entire body. Cells that are created include T-cells, which aid in immunity.


GHRP 6 acts as ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone. Its job is to invoke the action of IGF 1 so that more immune cells are created, thus boosting immunity.

CJC 1295

CJC 1295 affects the growth hormone, causing it to be released. This leads to a reaction that causes the thymus to create T-cells.

Vitamins that boost immune function

Vitamins are needed for the body to function, and many of them play a vital role in the immune system. Some vitamins that are good for boosting immune health include:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is the most well-known immune booster, and for good reason. Research shows that vitamin C helps immune function by supporting cellular responses in both the adaptive and the innate immune systems. It can also prevent the entry of pathogens through the skin by supporting skin barrier function. Vitamin C can also enhance the body’s ability to fight off disease by accumulating certain phagocytic cells.

This vitamin can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables such as oranges, strawberries, and red bell peppers.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 has the ability to boost the immune response because it helps to increase the production of antibodies in the system, and enhances the way cytokines and chemokines interact with one another (cytokines and chemokines are molecules within the body that aid in cell signaling).

Vitamin B6 can be found in seafood, fortified cereals, and chickpeas.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is found in high concentrations in immune cells; it aids the cells in modulating immune function. It also helps to regulate T-cells, improve the integrity of immune cells so that they are safe from damage, and encourage proper cell division.

The best sources of vitamin E include plant-based oils, nuts, seeds, and dark, leafy greens.

sliced orange
Image by Xiaolong Wong on Unsplash: What is the most powerful immune booster? Vitamin C is one you might have heard of!

Nutrients that boost immune function

Other nutrients that play a vital role in boosting immune function include:


Zinc is a chemical element that has been shown to aid in the development and function of certain immune cells such as natural killer cells and neutrophils.

Red meat and poultry contain high levels of zinc.


Selenium has been shown to help lower oxidative stress, which occurs when free radicals outnumber antioxidants and cause inflammation within the body. Inflammation can hinder the immune system, so having enough selenium can help to lower the risk of immune-suppressing inflammation.

Broccoli, spinach, and green peas are great sources of selenium.


Iron is an important part of immune health because of the crucial role it plays in the maturation of immune cells. One type of cell that benefits from adequate iron levels are lymphocytes, which help with specific responses against certain pathogens.

Iron can be included in your diet through foods such as red meat, beans, and dark, leafy greens, or through supplementation.

Featured image by Scott Warman on Unsplash

5 Vitamins And Nutrients That Build Muscle & Burn Fat

Often, when people want to lose fat, they also want to build muscle to have a leaner and more defined appearance. This combined approach to fitness can be difficult, because it’s not always easy to burn fat and build muscle at the same time. In fact, when losing weight, muscle is often lost along with fat. This is called weight-loss-induced muscle loss, and it can increase the risk of developing a too-low muscle mass condition known as sarcopenia.

If you’re wondering which supplement is best for fat loss and muscle gain, unfortunately it can be hard to find one that works for both. That’s because many people typically suggest that you cannot lose fat while building muscle. But while that can be true in some instances, it’s not always the case. Losing fat while building muscle is entirely possible if you perform the right exercises, stick to your workout plan, and get enough of the right vitamins and nutrients in your diet.

What vitamins are best for muscle growth?

There are many supplements marketed towards gaining muscle or losing fat, but rarely are they targeted towards both. When it comes to tackling both these areas at the same time, the following five supplements can help to get you to the physique you’re working towards.

1. Creatine

The molecule creatine is naturally occurring in the body. This means it is created and used by the body to help provide energy to muscle and other tissues. People often take it as a dietary supplement because of these effects. As a supplement, it has been shown to help increase creatine content in the muscles by up to 40%. This increase can help to improve exercise performance and affect muscle cells in a way that promotes the gaining of muscle.

Research has also known that creatine can help to improve muscle strength. Having stronger muscles will increase exercise endurance, which in turn leads to even more muscle mass in the long term. Research has also found that creatine can also increase hormones that are tasked with helping to grow muscle, and decrease protein breakdown within the muscles.

woman lifting weights to build muscle
Image by Sergio Pedemonte on Unsplash: A question we get asked a lot is: “How do I build muscle and lose fat?”

2. Protein

Another nutrient that is vital to gaining muscle is protein. This is because muscles are largely made of proteins. They are also dynamic in the sense that they are constantly broken down and built back up again. If the body doesn’t get enough protein, when the muscles break down, they won’t have the nutrients they need to rebuild, leading to loss of muscle mass. To help gain muscle, you’ll need to be able to consume more protein than is broken down. There is a myriad of different supplementation to try in this area, all of which come with their own type of protein (whey, casein, soy) and other ingredients that can help give them flavor or a particular consistency.

Protein has also been shown to help people lose fat. This is because it can help regulate hormones that help lead to fat loss, boost the metabolism, and reduce appetite to help you eat less calories throughout the day.

3. Beta-alanine

Beta-alanine is an amino acid the body uses to help increase stamina when it comes to exercise.Research has shown that by taking beta-alanine while on an exercise regimen, you can increase your lean muscle mass by about one pound over the course of a six-week period.

Although there is nothing in beta-alanine that will specifically target fat loss and muscle building, the way it affects a person’s ability to train and perform during exercise can ultimately lead to both fat loss and muscle gain.

4. Branched-chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs are a group of three different amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They are typically found in protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, and eggs and are vital when it comes to building muscle.Studies have shown that taking BCAAs as a daily supplement can help to both improve muscle gain and reduce the amount of muscle lost during weight loss.

BCAAs may also help to burn fat while keeping muscle mass in check. Research has shown that when people take BCAAs, they are shown to lose more weight than those who are taking protein supplements.

BCAAs can also help with muscle soreness.  

assortment of healthy food dishes
Image by Shayda Torabi on Unsplash: Should I build muscle or lose fat first? Truth is, you can do both at the same time with the right diet and nutrients.

5. Vitamin D

Many people might not consider vitamin D to be an integral part of a fat loss/muscle building plan. However, research has shown that the nutrient plays a vital role in protecting muscle mass while eating in a calorie deficit. This is especially true when it is combined with protein and leucine.

Having adequate levels of vitamin D in the body has also been correlated with a deduction of body fat. On particular study tested out this theory on two groups of women. By the end of the study, the women who were in the vitamin D group had lost an average of seven pounds more than those who did not take vitamin D during the course of their weight loss regimen.

Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time may seem like a difficult task, but that’s only if you don’t know how to approach it. Some people like to cut and then bulk, whereas others want to do everything at the same time. The good news is that both options are fine! However, if you fall into the latter category, getting enough of one of the above nutrients or vitamins in your diet will surely help you reach your fitness goals. 

Featured image by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash

Which Vitamins Are Fat Soluble?

The body needs a group of essential nutrients for it to work properly. These include minerals, trace elements, and vitamins. Vitamins, specifically, are needed to help with many different processes and to hinder the development of chronic illnesses. For example, vitamin D is essential for bone health because it aids in the absorption of calcium, another vital nutrient.

There are two types of vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble. Water-soluble vitamins dissolve quickly in water whereas fat-soluble vitamins need fat to be absorbed into the body. Both groups have different rates of absorption and storage capabilities. So which vitamins are fat soluble?

What is a fat-soluble vitamin?

Fat-soluble vitamins are nutrients that dissolve in fat and are stored in the tissues of the body. They are absorbed into fat globules and taken where they need to go when those fat globules make their way around the body through the small intestines. Since no two vitamins are alike, each fat-soluble vitamin gets stored in different places and for different lengths of time. Some stay in the fatty tissues, others in the liver; they can be stored between a few days up to six months.

Fat-soluble vitamins are kept in the body so that when it needs them, they can be used from its stores. They are best stored and absorbed into the body when they are taken with high-fat foods; however, they are not as easily excreted out of the body as water-soluble vitamins, so they can be absorbed with all meals.

Vital RX - bones
Image by Harlie Raethel on Unsplash: What happens if you don’t have enough fat-soluble vitamins? Your bone health could suffer.

What are the benefits of fat-soluble vitamins?

There are four different kinds of fat-soluble vitamins, all of which have their own benefits. Each and every fat-soluble vitamin plays a vital role in overall health, some even helping with a variety of different processes.

Retinol (Vitamin A)

Retinol, or vitamin A, is primarily used in the body for eye health, immune health, and bone health. Retinol is used to help convert light that enters the eye into electrical signals that are sent to the brain. Studies have found that the first symptom of a retinol deficiency is typically night-blindness.

Retinol also helps the immune system function by maintaining mucous barriers in areas such as the eyes, lungs, gut, and genitals to help ward off or trap bacteria and other pathogens. It also can help to protect bone health. Research has shown that those without adequate levels of retinol in their system have an increased risk of bone fractures.

Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

Tocopherol acts a powerful antioxidant which is crucial in overall health. Without adequate antioxidant levels to bind to free radicals, the body can accumulate dangerous levels of free radicals, leading to oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can then encourage chronic disease. By decreasing oxidative stress in the body, tocopherol can also enhance the life of your cells.

Ergocalciferol/Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3)

The sunshine vitamin has a variety of different health benefits. It encourages bone health by increasing the absorption of essential nutrients calcium and phosphorous, which are required for healthy bones. It also plays a vital role in immune function and can decrease the risk of developing illnesses such as the flu.

The vitamin is also a powerful mood regulator and studies have shown that it can help to ward off mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Vitamin D deficiency has also been shown to bring about many health problems, so getting enough is of the utmost importance.

Phytonadione (Vitamin K)

Phytonadione plays a vital role in bone health, cognitive health, and heart health. When it comes to cognition, the nutrient has been shown to help boost memory in older adults. In terms of heart health, phytonadione is thought to decrease blood pressure because of its ability to lower mineralization that could build up in the arteries around the heart.

When should you take fat-soluble vitamins?

Since fat-soluble vitamins dissolve within the body using fat, the best time to take them is with a meal, usually in the evening. Saturated fats are the best type of fat to take these types of vitamins with because they increase the absorption rate and help the vitamins get to the fatty tissues and liver so they can be stored for future use.

Can you overdose on fat-soluble vitamins?

The risk of overdose is higher when it comes to fat-soluble vitamins than water-soluble vitamins, but only if you are taking much more than the recommended daily dose. This is because of their high storage abilities in the body. Toxicity levels will depend on the type of vitamin and how much was taken.

When it comes to retinol, for example, the symptoms of an overdose can include nausea, intracranial pressure, coma, and even death. The symptoms of having too much vitamin D in the system include weight loss, appetite loss, and irregular heartbeat. Having too much vitamin D has also been shown to cause organ damage because it raises the level of calcium in the blood.

Tocopherol taken in high doses can lead to stroke and interfere with the blood’s ability to clot. When it comes to phytonadione, the risk of overdose is low; however, it can still cause health problems if it is mixed with certain medications such as antibiotics or blood thinners.  

Vital RX - olive oil
Image by Pixabay on Pexels: Do you need to eat fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins? It definitely helps. 

Getting the right amount of fat-soluble vitamins is important for the overall health of the body. They are required for a variety of functions, and deficiencies can lead to the onset of a plethora of different chronic diseases. The important thing to remember when taking fat-soluble vitamins is to not go overboard. The body stores these vitamins, so unless you are severely deficient, you may risk taking too much if you go over the daily recommended amount.

Featured image by Candace Mathers on Unsplash

Which Vitamins Are Water Soluble?

Vitamins are essential for each and every bodily process to run as it should. They provide different nutrients, all of which are required to either prevent chronic illness or encourage overall health.

Not all vitamins are made equally, though. They all have different rates of absorption, also known as bioavailability, as well as different rates at which they are excreted from the body. All vitamins fall into one of two main categories when it comes to where they are stored in the body: water soluble and fat soluble. So which vitamins are water soluble?

What does it mean if a vitamin is water soluble?

A water-soluble vitamin is dissolved in water and is essentially easy to be absorbed into the body. This readily available absorption allows the vitamins to be used immediately by the body once they reach the tissues. They are not stored, and thus require daily doses to help keep up with the body’s demand of each specific nutrient.

Since the body only needs a certain amount of each water-soluble vitamin, it typically takes what it needs when it arrives into the body and flushes out the rest so that there is no overaccumulation.

Vital RX - water
Image by Manki Kim on Unsplash: Water-soluble vitamins dissolve in water, whereas fat-soluble vitamins dissolve in fat within the body. 

Water-soluble vitamins vs fat-soluble vitamins

A fat-soluble vitamin is different than a water-soluble vitamin in that it dissolves in fat to be absorbed into the body. The specific type of fat required for these nutrients to be absorbed is fat globules. When the vitamin enters the fat globule, it is then distributed to where it needs to go when the globule makes its way through the small intestines. These types of vitamins are stored for much longer than water-soluble vitamins and can be typically found in the liver and fatty tissues. This storage leaves them readily available for when the body needs them in the future. The best way to absorb fat-soluble vitamins is if they are taken with high-fat foods.

Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins are not stored as mentioned above, and thus need to be replenished more often. Although all vitamins have different daily recommended amounts, there is no difference in the general need for both fat- and water-soluble vitamins, as all the essential vitamins are required in their own respective amounts.

Are most vitamins water soluble?

The majority of vitamins are water soluble, with only four being fat soluble. Specific vitamins that are water soluble include:

  • Thiamine (Vitamin B1)
  • Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5)
  • Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6)
  • Biotin (Vitamin B7)
  • Folate (Vitamin B9)
  • Cobalamin (Vitamin B12)
  • Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)

These vitamins are essential to overall health, but without storage capabilities, they need to be consumed every day to ensure that a person is getting enough and reaping the health rewards of having full levels of nutrition.

The four fat-soluble vitamins are:

Fat-soluble vitamins pose more of a toxicity risk than water soluble vitamins because they are stored within the body for much longer periods of time and are less readily excreted. Taking more than the body needs could result in an overdose.

When should you take water-soluble vitamins?

The most optimal time to take water-soluble vitamins will depend on their type; however, they are best absorbed on an empty stomach. By taking them in the morning half an hour before eating or two hours after a meal, you’ll get the most out of the vitamin when it comes to nutrient absorption.

Taking the B family of vitamins in the morning can also help to boost energy and mood levels and help with stress management for the upcoming day. Vitamin C can be taken at any point throughout the day, and it is typically safe to take other water-soluble vitamins at the same time.

Vital RX - vitamin supplements
Image by Pina Messina on Unsplash: Water-soluble vitamins are generally safe to be taken together and should be done on an empty stomach for the most benefits.

Can you OD on a water-soluble vitamin?

As mentioned above, water-soluble vitamins are not stored in the body. This leaves the chance of an overdose of the vitamin very low. This is especially true for vitamin C, which the body will push out of the system prior to a dangerous overdose. If vitamin C is taken in great excess, it can cause upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea, but it is unlikely to cause any other negative health effects. 

The water-soluble vitamins that pose the most risk when it comes to an overdose are certain B vitamins, such as B3 and B6. These have been shown to cause adverse health effects such as jaundice, elevated liver enzymes, and nausea and nerve damage when taken in excess.

Each body is different and requires different amounts of water-soluble vitamins depending on overall health levels, any chronic conditions, or medications that may deplete or hinder the body’s ability to absorb certain vitamins. To find out how much you need, it’s important to speak with your doctor.

The water-soluble list of vitamins is essential to the overall function of many processes within the body – for example, B vitamins are often referred to as the “building blocks” of health, and the daily target needs to be met for things such as cell metabolism, energy levels, and brain function. Being sure you’re getting enough water-soluble vitamins on a daily basis is the best way to keep up with your health and avoid any complications that can arise from being malnourished.

Featured image by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash

Why Lack Of Vitamin D In The Winter Poses A Serious Threat To Your Health

Between diets that lack the appropriate nutrients to the inability to store certain vitamins in the body, getting the recommended daily dose of all the essential nutrients one needs can be a difficult task. Some vitamins, such as vitamin D, are especially important for overall health. Since the vitamin’s primary source is sunshine, the winter months pose an increased risk of deficiency.  

Getting vitamin D the old-fashioned way is hindered for much of the winter season because there are less hours of sunlight, and less sunshine during cold and cloudy winter days. There’s also the common desire to avoid the cold by staying indoors much more than one might in the summer time. But how dangerous is a vitamin D deficiency, particularly in the colder months? Here’s why lack of vitamin D in the winter poses a serious threat to your health.

What is vitamin D and what does it do for the body?

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient. It is fat-soluble, which means it is synthesized within the body when the skin absorbs the sun’s rays, and then stored in fatty tissues. The nutrient is also absorbed into the body through food. Since it acts as both a vitamin and a steroid hormone, it is important for a variety of different processes throughout the body. One of the most important processes is calcium and phosphorous absorption, which helps with bone health. 

Vitamin D also plays a vital role in the function of the immune system, as it acts as both an immune system regulator and moderator. It is a nutrient that the immune system relies on to ensure that the response to pathogens is initiated properly to avoid infection and illness.

Other studies have found that vitamin D has exceptional disease-fighting abilities. It can help to decrease the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and multiple sclerosis, and can even prevent the development of the flu. The essential nutrient also plays a role in mood regulation and has been known to reduce symptoms of depression.

Vital RX - vitamin D
Image by Pexels on Pixabay: How to get vitamin D in winter? Get outside, even though it’s cold out.

What does it mean if you’re lacking vitamin D?

If you don’t get enough vitamin D in your system, your body becomes deficient and many of the processes that rely on the nutrient may begin to malfunction. There are many reasons that one may lack vitamin D. The amount needed will vary slightly from person to person, but there are daily recommended amounts based on age that most people should adhere to. For people aged nine and over, anywhere from 600 IU/day up to 4000 IU/day is recommended. The upper level intake is the highest amount of the vitamin that can be taken without adverse health effects.

Vitamin D deficiency can be caused by certain health conditions such as cystic fibrosis, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease. These diseases can cause the intestines to have difficulties absorbing the nutrient if it is taken as a supplement. Weight loss surgeries, obesity, and kidney and liver diseases can also play a role in vitamin D deficiency. The body’s ability to make vitamin D also decreases with age, and those who are less mobile and thus spend less time outside all year round can also suffer from vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms

If vitamin D deficiency becomes severe it can cause rickets – a bone problem that affects mostly children and leads to bones that are easily bendable, breakable, and painful. Rickets can develop in adults, where it is referred to as osteomalacia. These conditions occur only in the most serious of vitamin D deficiency cases.

For those who are lacking in this essential nutrient but not yet suffering the most severe consequences, symptoms may appear to be mild in nature and include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Bone pain
  • Muscle weakness, cramps, or aches
  • Depression and other mood changes
  • Frequent infections
  • Back pain
  • Wounds that don’t heal properly or are slow to heal
  • Bone loss
  • Hair loss

About one billion people in the world are suspected to be deficient in vitamin D, and it is one of the most commonly found nutritional deficiencies worldwide.

How to get vitamin D in winter

Getting vitamin D in winter can be tricky. Since people spend less time outdoors, the chances of a deficiency in winter are greater, thus more vitamin D may need to be introduced through other means during those cold months. A great way to keep vitamin D levels up naturally in the winter is by getting outside as much as possible. Even if it’s cold out, if the sun is shining, your body can still absorb the rays and synthesize vitamin D.

Another great way to get more vitamin D in the winter months is through diet. The best food options to get as much vitamin D as possible include:

  • Pork
  • Mushrooms
  • Fatty fish such as mackerel, oysters, shrimp, and tuna
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks
  • Vitamin D-enriched foods such as orange juice, cereal, soy milk, and yogurt
Vital RX - mushrooms
Image by Cocoparisienne on Pixabay: Mushrooms are an excellent dietary option to get more vitamin D in the winter.

You may also want to increase your intake along with your enriched diet with vitamin D supplementation. If you believe your vitamin D levels are severely low, getting a blood test with your primary care physician can let you know just how much you need to restore yourself to adequate levels. They may opt for a prescription supplement of vitamin D or recommend a good over-the-counter supplement.

Getting enough vitamin D in the winter may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. In the winter months, it is especially important to have enough of the nutrient because it can help ward off infection and chronic disease. As the winter season is typically flu and cold season, you’ll want to avoid getting sick as best you can with adequate levels of vitamin D.

Featured image by Free-Photos on Pixabay

What’s The Story Behind Vitamin D And COVID-19?

The COVID-19 pandemic has been circulating the globe for over a year now. The death toll has reached over 2 million, and over 50 million have contracted the virus. With cases continuing to rise, the general public has been looking for ways to help prevent the spread and transmission of COVID.

A dangerous amount of false information has been circulating about the prevention of COVID-19 and the ways we can keep ourselves safe. Some outlandish claims that have been made with no basis in fact have included the use of colloidal silver, plant-based elixirs, and ultraviolet lamps. This misinformation has led to people believing that they could avoid getting the virus if they bought certain products.

One new health claim making the rounds is the connection between vitamin D and COVID-19. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and steroid hormone that can be absorbed into the body through sunlight and some foods. It is needed for bone health, the metabolization of both phosphorous and calcium, and mood regulation. But can it help prevent COVID-19?

Is vitamin D important for the immune system?

There are many health benefits of vitamin D because it plays a role in so many different bodily processes. One such system that relies heavily on having enough vitamin D is the immune system. Research has shown that the nutrient is essential when it comes to fighting off infection and boosting the function of the immune system. This is because it can act as an immune system regulator and initiator.

Studies have also found a direct connection between Vitamin D and the function of immune cells. The findings state that since immune cells have an expressed vitamin D receptor, it is required for them to be able to signal properly. It also plays a vital role in the modulation of both the innate and acquired immune systems.

Vital RX - masks
Image by Ismael Paramo on Unsplash: Safety measures such as wearing a mask are important to prevent COVID-19, but vitamin D can help when it comes to the severity of the infection.

Does vitamin D protect against COVID-19?

Information regarding vitamin D and COVID-19 is promising, but there is no evidence or information demonstrating that the nutrient can protect against COVID-19. There is currently no cure for the virus and the immune system is the main defender when it comes to recovering from a COVID-19 infection. The only true way to protect oneself against contracting the virus is by following the appropriate safety measures.

These measures will be different depending on your local government and health official regulations, but the mainstays include wearing a mask in areas where you will be in close contact with people; social distancing by way of keeping at least six feet between yourself and another person; and avoiding contact with those who have an active case or symptoms of the infection. You should also be practicing good handwashing and sanitization techniques and avoiding touching your face.

What’s the connection between vitamin D and COVID-19?

Since the immune system relies heavily on vitamin D to ensure that it is functioning properly – and since it’s the only line of defense against the COVID-19 virus – it’s clear that there is a connection between Vitamin D and coronavirus. Without adequate levels of vitamin D, the immune system will not function at its best, and if it doesn’t work properly, the body may have a more difficult time fighting off the virus.

Research has found that having at least 30 ng/mL of vitamin D in the blood led to those hospitalized to have less adverse outcomes and a better fighting chance against the infection. The particular study looked at 235 patients with COVID-19 and found that patients over the age of 40 were more likely to experience milder symptoms if they had adequate levels of the nutrient compared to those who were low or deficient. With a lessened chance of hypoxia and death, vitamin D is looking promising as a way to keep the body healthy in the wake of COVID-19.

Does vitamin D deficiency increase the severity of COVID-19?

Being deficient in vitamin D can lead to several chronic health conditions including diabetes, glucose intolerance, and hypertension. A vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to the increased risk of developing certain viral diseases as well as the increased susceptibility of getting frequent infections.

Other possible health conditions that can arise due to a vitamin D deficiency include:

  • Depression
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Development of some cancers including prostate, colon, and breast cancer
Vital RX - supplement
Image by Michele Blackwell on Unsplash: Vitamin D deficiency is dangerous for your health, so if you can’t get enough through diet and sunshine alone, supplementation is necessary.

The connection between COVID and vitamin D deficiency has been clear in recent studies, which show that not having enough of the nutrient can lead to a heightened risk of developing a more severe case of the virus. One particular study looked at 216 patients with COVID-19 who were hospitalized because of the condition and found that out of the 216, over 80% were deficient in the sunshine vitamin.

In the people with lower levels of vitamin D, high inflammatory markers were also found, and longer hospital stays were also discovered to be a connection between low vitamin D levels and COVID-19 patients.

There is no cure for COVID-19. There are anti-viral medications that can control it, but for the most part when it comes to viruses, the immune system has to fight the battle on its own. Vitamin D is not a cure, nor is it a treatment option for those with severe cases of COVID-19; however, recent promising research shows it could be a helpful assistant in both recovery and in the outcome of the infection.

Featured image by Ainsley Myles on Unsplash

Which 7 Vitamins Are Most People Lacking?

For many Americans, getting the proper nutrition can be difficult. Between heavily processed diets and limited time due to demanding lifestyles, the ability to get everything your body needs on a daily basis can be an uphill battle. This is why people often suffer from nutrient deficiencies.

Nutrient deficiencies can lead to a variety of chronic health issues that could be addressed by simply upping the intake of vitamins and minerals that the body needs for its many processes. The good news is that it’s not hard to fix a nutritional deficiency as long as you know what signs to look out for. So which vitamins are most people lacking? Read on to find out.

How do I know which vitamins I’m lacking?

The body is a smart system. It works symbiotically, meaning that all its processes rely on each other to run smoothly. The digestive system, for example, needs to function optimally in order for the body to process nutrients appropriately. Without the digestive tract’s ability to absorb nutrients, the other systems within the body will not get the vitamins and minerals they need to do their jobs.

There are many signs your body might give you if you are lacking in nutrients. For example, brittle hair and nails could be a sign that the body is lacking biotin. Other hints that the body will give you when it’s starved for nutrients include:

  • Mouth ulcers or cracks in the corners of the mouth
  • Bleeding gums
  • White growths on eyes and difficulties seeing at night
  • Scaly patches of skin or dandruff
  • Hair loss
  • Red or white bumps on the skin
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Fatigue or low on energy
  • Frequent infections 

These are just some general signs; specific vitamin deficiencies will present with different symptoms.

Vital RX - citrus vitamin C
Image by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash: Vitamin C deficiency can lead to scurvy in serious cases, but prevention can be as easy as getting enough citrus fruits in the diet.

Vitamin deficiency diseases

A wide variety of diseases are linked to nutrient deficiency, most of which can be typically addressed with adequate intake. For example, anemia can occur in those who do not get enough vitamin B12; however, if adequate levels are restored, the disease itself will be treated effectively.

Some other common vitamin deficiency diseases and their causes include:

These are just a few of the health conditions that can arise from a lack of nutrients in the diet. However, they are also diseases that can be addressed by returning adequate levels of the vitamin itself into the body over long-term treatment.

What is the most common nutritional deficiency in the United States?

According to a report released by the CDC, there are quite a few nutritional deficiencies among the population of the United States. The most common was found to be vitamin B6. This water-soluble vitamin is also known as pyridoxine and plays a significant role in the metabolism of fat, carbohydrates, and protein. It also helps the body create red blood cells and neurotransmitters. Since the body doesn’t produce this vitamin on its own, it can be easy to become deficient if you are not getting enough from food or supplements.

The best way to get vitamin B6 from food is by eating foods that are rich in the nutrient. Some such foods include:

  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Soya beans
  • Oats
  • Bananas

If diet is not enough, supplementation may be required to help keep levels of vitamin B6 where they need to be for overall health and wellness.

Most common nutrient deficiencies

Besides vitamin B6, there are six other common nutrient deficiencies that people suffer from. Each will come with its own set of symptoms to look out for so you can tell if you may need to get more in your diet.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A deficiency can lead to an impairment in the function of the immune system, rashes, and ocular effects. If you notice any changes in the way your eyes adjust to light or dark, it could be time to investigate a vitamin A deficiency.

Vitamin B12

Anemia tends to be the result of a vitamin B12 deficiency, which presents with symptoms such as chronic fatigue, weakness, pale skin, dizziness, and chest pain.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D, otherwise known as the sunshine vitamin, is important for a lot of reasons. It helps the body absorb other nutrients such as calcium and phosphorous which are vital to bone health. Symptoms of a deficiency can include fatigue, depression, and muscle aches and weakness.


If calcium deficiency lasts for a long period of time it can lead to health issues surrounding the teeth, bones, and even the brain. Symptoms of a calcium deficiency include tingling in the lips, tongue, fingers, and feet; muscle aches and spasms; seizures; and abnormal heart rhythms.


Iron is important for red blood cell health. There are two types of iron: heme, which is very well absorbed and found in meats, and non-heme, which is in both animal and plant foods but isn’t as bioavailable. Iron deficiency can also lead to anemia and symptoms include fatigue, weakness, decreased immune function, and lowered brain function.


Magnesium is important for many processes within the body and is an essential component to bone and teeth health. Some symptoms of a deficiency in this mineral are restless leg syndrome, fatigue, and migraines.

Vital RX - fruits and nuts
Image by Jonathan Riley on Unsplash: Bananas and nuts are just two great sources of vitamin B6.

How to remedy nutrient deficiencies

The easiest way to address nutrient deficiencies is by adding foods to your diet that are rich in the particular vitamin you’re lacking, or by using supplementation. Supplementation may be necessary as a first course of treatment if the deficiency is particularly high. To ensure that your symptoms don’t stem from an underlying health condition, getting vitamin and nutrient levels checked is the first step on the road to fixing a vitamin deficiency.

The essential vitamins and minerals the body needs aren’t always easy to get through diet alone, but between changing your diet and increasing supplementation, you can address any nutrient deficiencies and get back to being healthy in no time.

Featured image by Adam Neiścioruk on Unsplash

The Importance Of Vitamin D3 In Immune Health

Immune health is a vital component of overall health. In fact, without the immune system functioning at its best, all other systems in the body would falter in the presence of pathogens that have made it through due to a lack of proper immune response. When the body is able to fight off infection properly, it leaves all the body’s other systems to do their respective jobs and maintain a consistent level of wellness.

Many vitamins play a role in immune health, but some are more important than others. For example, vitamin C is often hailed as a great immune booster, but it’s not the be-all-end-all when it comes to keeping immune function running as it should. Vitamin D3 is one such vitamin that is a great immune assistant, but doesn’t get talked about as often as it should when it comes to the vitamins that keep the body’s defenses up to par.

What is the role of vitamin D in the immune system?

Vitamin D has a direct role to play in bone homeostasis and the way the body absorbs calcium, but that’s not the only thing it can do. Studies have shown that the nutrient can also help regulate both the innate and adaptive immune responses in the body by acting as an autocrine signaler for B and T cells and antigen-presenting cells.  

When it comes to protective immunity, vitamin D has been shown to be a great assistant. Prior to the use of antibiotics on tuberculosis, some patients were seeing great improvements in their conditions after exposure to sunlight. Doctors had assumed that sunlight killed TB; however, it is now thought that the increase in vitamin D levels was the catalyst for healing.

It has also been found that a deficiency in vitamin D can lead to increased risk for developing autoimmunity, the process that occurs when the body signals an immune response to its own cells that pose no threat. Not having enough vitamin D can also lead to a higher risk of frequent infections. 

Vital RX - bone health
Image by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash: Vitamin D is especially important in bone health because of its ability to increase calcium and phosphorous absorption.

What are the benefits of vitamin D?

Vitamin D isn’t just good for bone health and the immune system. According to studies, the vitamin can actually help ward off further diseases, including decreasing the risk of developing heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and the flu. It has also been shown to help fibromyalgia patients manage their symptoms.

Those who suffer from depression may also see an improvement in their symptoms if they increase their levels of vitamin D. Research has shown that the nutrient acts as a mood regulator, and that those who took vitamin D supplements during treatment for their mental illness saw a higher reduction in negative symptoms than those who did not. Vitamin D deficiency is also common in those who suffer from anxiety.

Another novel benefit of vitamin D is weight loss. One study found that weight loss group participants were able to see a larger reduction in weight when they added both calcium and vitamin D supplements to their regimen. It was suggested that this is because the supplements acted as appetite suppressants, leading to less consumed calories and more weight lost.

Does vitamin D help with illness?

As mentioned above, vitamin D holds a myriad of different health benefits when it comes to illnesses such as declining mental health, heart disease, and the common flu. This is due to its ability to help activate immune markers and keep the body free of pathogens.

In the current state of the COVID-era world, ensuring the body has enough vitamin D has never been more important, primarily due to its ability to keep the immune response functioning as it should. In terms of common illnesses such as colds and flu, many studies have evidenced the role of vitamin D as both a preventative method as well as a treatment. Other chronic health issues could also benefit from vitamin D, including heart disease, certain cancers, autoimmune disorders, and diabetes.

How much vitamin D should I take for immune system health?

The amount of vitamin D you take for your immune system will be entirely dependent on your current levels. It’s always important to assess how much you need prior to beginning a new supplementation plan. That being said, there are general amounts that can be taken to ensure that you’re getting enough and not becoming vitamin D deficient.

For adults, between 600 to 800 IU per day should be an adequate amount, whereas children would need between 400 and 600 IU per day. Those deficient in the nutrient may need to begin with more supplementation to return to healthy levels. For people with bone health disorders, more vitamin D may be needed to ensure that calcium and phosphorous are being absorbed thoroughly enough to manage symptoms.

Vital RX - cold and flu
Image by Brittany Colette on Unsplash: Vitamin D can help ward off common illnesses such as the cold and flu.

The Immune Health Subscription Box

The Vital RX Immune Health Subscription Box is equipped with high-quality ingredients to help ensure your immune health stays up to par throughout the winter months and all year round. The inclusion of Vitamin D3 in the Immune Health box was carefully considered by our team of doctors to give the immune system the extra boost it needs.

Vitamin D is a vital component to overall bone and immune health, and can even keep infection and chronic illness at bay. The best way to avoid deficiency is by ensuring you get the recommended daily dosage every single day.

Featured image by Jude Beck on Unsplash