Role of Vitamin D3 and Zinc in creating a healthy immune system.

Vitamin D3 and Zinc  are key nutrients needed to create a healthy immune system. Both of these nutrients are frequently lacking  in our  diets and lifestyles.  Zinc is obtained via  our diets  ( see What is Zinc) and  we get our Vitamin D3 from exposure to sunlight and in  only a  few foods such as  cod liver oil, salmon butter.

Vitamin D3 is currently the topic of many double blind randomized research studies. Recent studies have shown  the general population to significantly defiecient in Vit D3, This has been an unexpected finding as it was always believed that we obtained enough VitD3  from our exposure to sunlight.

It is a seemingly vital component in the functioning of nearly every system throughout the body and is important not only in building a strong healthy immune system but in our general health as well.

Vitamin D3 is a necessity in healthy immune function in both adults and children. This fact is demonstrated by its involvement in the activation of the immune systems first lines of immune defence against all forms of  pathogenic invasion.

These immune regulating properties help to explain vitamin D’s positive influence on the severity of acute lower respiratory tract infections in Japanese hospitalised children.1

In another study on children with pneumonia, vitamin D deficiency was shown to compromise their ability to fight the infection.2

Zinc and vitamin C have long been identified as key nutrients for immune health in children; their deficiency is related to not only poor growth and development, but also compromised immune defences.3

The antiviral and immune-enhancing benefits of zinc have been demonstrated many times over. Zinc is involved in many enzyme functions throughout the body. It is used in large amounts during periods of rapid growth and convalescence. These are exactly the times when many people especially children and adolescents are eating diets that are extremely low in Zinc.

Eating a high carbohydrate diet is not  only does not supply much Zinc but the fibre content may  also decrease the absorption of Zinc.

A recent randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that adjuvant zinc supplementation in children with upper respiratory problems accelerated recovery.4

Ensuring sound vitamin D status, while dosing up on zinc and vitamin C, is an excellent strategy for strengthening children’s immunity against common winter bugs.

It is always advisable to contact a qualified health practitioner when considering supplementing with Zinc and Vitamin D3 as these nutrients need to be well balanced in the body. Too much or too little leads to poor health.

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1. Inamo Y, Hasegawa M, Saito K, et al. Serum vitamin D concentrations and associated severity of acute lower respiratory tract infections in

Japanese hospitalized children. Pediatr Int 2011;53(2):199-201.

2. Oduwole AO, Renner JK, Disu E, et al. Relationship between vitamin D levels and outcome of pneumonia in children. West Afr J Med 2010;29(6):


3. Valavi E, Hakimzadeh M, Shamsizadeh A, et al. The efficacy of zinc supplementation on outcome of children with severe pneumonia. A randomized

double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Indian J Pediatr 2011 Jun 10. [Epub ahead of print]

4. Maggini S, Wenzlaff S, Hornig D. Essential role of vitamInamo Yin C and zinc in child immunity and health. J Int Med Res 2010;38(2):386-414.

5. Bone K. A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs. St Louis: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2003.