Vitamin D Important for Good HAART Outcomes

Vitamin D is an important nutrient that is involved in many areas of health and well-being. Of particular importance for people with HIV/AIDS is the part vitamin D plays in the immune system. While vitamin D is not normally a major factor in immune function, it plays a critical role in the construction of new immune cells. This makes vitamin D a very important nutrient for people with HIV/AIDS who are on HAART. Insufficient vitamin D can leave the body unable to reconstruct the immune system once medication has gotten the immediate infection under control. Because of this interaction, people with HIV-AIDS who have low levels of vitamin D have poorer outcomes from HAART.

Luckily, a deficiency in vitamin D is easy for most people to address. Vitamin D levels can be increased in three ways: by getting more sunlight, by eating vitamin D rich foods and by taking vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D is well known as the vitamin which is made by sunlight. The human body uses the energy of the sun and its affect on our skin cells to manufacture vitamin D. For most people, spending 15 to 20 minutes a day in the sun will be sufficient to provide healthy vitamin D levels. If you are not getting regular sunlight, then making small changes in your daily routine, such as spending a few minutes sitting on the porch or taking a short walk outside, can be sufficient to improve your vitamin D levels.

Not everyone is able to maintain sufficient vitamin D just from spending time outside. Some people bodies manufacture vitamin D at a lower rate, and they need to get their vitamin from other sources. There are also people from spending time in the sun is not advisable for reasons of health. They also will need to find other means of maintaining their vitamin D levels.

Two alternatives sources are vitamin D rich food and vitamin D supplements. In the developed world, vitamin D supplements are easily available in most pharmacies and grocery stores. Supplements are not as effective a means of getting vitamins as food, because the body has a harder time absorbing vitamins from supplements for this reason it’s a good idea, if you choose to take a supplement, to take one which contains 2 to 3 times the recommended daily amount of vitamin D. In this way you ensure your body will get sufficient vitamin D.

The best vitamin D rich foods are fish and mollusks, including oysters, salmon, trout, haddock and tuna. Soybeans and soybean products are also high in vitamin D, and in many countries dry cereals and milk have vitamin D added. For these foods, two servings a day will provide a healthy amount of vitamin D. If you have digestion troubles, including diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, you’ll probably want to eat more than the recommended daily amount of vitamin D to be ensure that your body absorbs enough to get what it needs.

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