Fumigate your lungs with a little vitamin D bug spray

lung being fumigated by vitamin DThe lungs are a front line.

The air we breathe is laced with potentially dangerous bugs and chemicals, so the lungs need to be equipped to handle these intruders.

A veritable army of immune cells battle the bugs that try to gate crash the body via the respiratory system. But, the respiratory epithelium themselves do battle with their own chemical weaponary. These chemicals are the human version of antibiotics – designed to crush foreigners.

The weapons are natural antimicrobial peptides, AMPs for short.

Vitamin D releases the arsenal

In the presence of unsavoury characters, which pose a threat to lung security, vitamin D is activated.

The activated vitamin D, programmes lung epithelium to switch on production of AMP chemicals.

Lung epithelial is pulling the trigger

The skin production line, powered by the sun, converts cholesterol to vitamin D and sends it to the liver. The liver, using the enzyme 25-hydroxylase, then processes this vitamin D, along with vitamin D obtained from the diet, so that it can be “stored” by the body as (25(OH)D).

The stored version is then shipped to the kidney as needed, for final processing into an activated form, which is circulated in the bloodstream. This vitamin D helps build bones and runs the calcium economy of the body.

But the lungs need even more vitamin D, to fire up the defence systems to avoid respiratory tract infections. The lungs depend on the lung epithelial cells to activate their own supply of active vitamin D (1,25(OH)2D).

Vitamin D is powering up the lung defence system

The lung produced activated vitamin D switches on two genes.

The first is cathelicidin (an AMP) which can kill bacteria by poking holes in their outer layer. The cathelicidin also stimulates the lung epithelial cells, encouraging them to divide so that they recover quickly from any damage caused by these invading organisms.

PS. Unfortunately, viral infections typically leave this layer of cells decimated.

The second gene turned on by the vitamin D produces a protein (CD14), which helps the immune cells focus their attention on foreign invaders, so they kick up their performance a notch and exterminate the problem.

No vitamin D no power

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin because production depends on UV light powering the chemical reaction, that converts cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D.

Lots of people are running low on vitamin D all the time, because they avoid the sun like the plague. But even if you’re not anti-sun per se, there often is not enough of it around during winter, which is when you’re most likely to catch some or other respiratory bug. Surprise, surprise !

Fumigate your lungs

Tap into a little lizard wisdom and do a bit of sun tanning otherwise swallow a supplement, but make sure your body is loaded up with vitamin D so your body is able zap those nasty “flu” bugs before they do too much damage.

Respiratory epithelial cells convert inactive vitamin D to its active form: potential effects on host defense. J Immunol. 2008 Nov 15;181(10):7090-9. Hansdottir S, Monick MM, Hinde SL, Lovan N, Look DC, Hunninghake GW.
 
Cathelicidin LL-37:LPD-neutralizing, pleiotropic peptide. Ann Agric Environ Med (2007) 14: 1-4.  Marcin Golec

 

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Further reading

lungs being kept open by bacteria  winter conception increases autism risk  vitamin D being washed down the drain 
Bacteria help keep the airways open holding back asthma  Winter nookie increases the risk of having an autistic child   Are you washing your vitamin D down the drain ?

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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