At the height of the pandemic, one thing was made clear: Maintaining a strong immune system is pivotal. While there are many natural ways you can strengthen your immune system, one supplement continues to receive a lot of attention—and that's vitamin D. Whether through food or supplements, it's important to ensure you're getting enough of this immune booster in your diet as COVID-19 cases continue to rapidly climb across the U.S.
"There is good evidence that if you have a low vitamin D level, that you have more of a propensity to get infected when there are infections around," Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said earlier this year. "Those data are pretty good data."
Vitamin D is known to offer many health benefits. If you don't get enough of the nutrient, your body can become more susceptible to infection and even experience impaired wound healing. In fact, the vitamin plays more key roles in the body than you may realize. (Be sure to read up on 5 Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency You Should Never Ignore.)
"One of the major roles it plays is to help maximize the absorption and utilization of calcium, which is an important mineral for our skeletal system and teeth. It is also important [for] muscle, heart, and lung functioning," Nicole Avena, Ph.D. and assistant professor of neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York told Eat This, Not That! before.
Fauci told actress Jennifer Garner in the same Instagram Live interview that certain supplements can boost your immune system, one of which is vitamin D.
"If you're deficient in vitamin D, that does have an impact on your susceptibility to infection," Dr. Fauci said. "I would not mind recommending—and I do it myself—taking vitamin D supplements." (Related: 21 Best Healthy Cooking Hacks of All Time.)
There are many foods that are rich in vitamin D that you may consider incorporating into your diet, such as cow's milk, eggs, mushrooms and salmon. If you want to start taking vitamin D in supplement form, be sure to check with your doctor first to make sure it's safe for you.
For more tips, be sure to check out 20 Surprising Foods That Wreak Havoc On Your Immune System.