Nasal polyps are painless, but they can take a toll on your respiratory system. The condition is characterized by soft, benign growths on the lining of sinuses or nasal passages. These growths take the shape of teardrops and mostly appear in groups.
Nasal polyps are highly linked with several conditions, such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, chronic rhinosinusitis, cystic fibrosis, and sinus infections. All these issues cause inflammation and other complications in the nose.
Several studies have pointed out that vitamin D has capabilities that can improve nasal polyps. Perhaps it is due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and other essential properties. We’ll explore these below.
Vitamin D Immune-Modulatory Property
Evidence suggests that nasal polyps are an autoimmune condition to some extent. Given vitamin D’s amazing powers and influence on the immune system, this nutrient can come in handy in managing nasal polyps.
Vitamin D directly impacts innate and adaptive immune responses. Thus we can say it acts as an immunomodulating agent. That is, a compound that stimulates or suppresses your immune system and can help your body fight infections, bacteria, and other diseases.
Vitamin D activates the immune cells (B cells, T cells) that not only detect but also destroy any foreign pathogens. Its deficiency can increase the body’s susceptibility to infection, with upper respiratory tract infection being the greater risk.
Some issues associated with upper respiratory tract issues are nasal polyps, tuberculosis, influenza, and other infections. So keeping healthy vitamin D levels will boost immune system function, thus helping in the shrinking of nasal polyps.
A study was carried out to investigate the relationship between nasal polyps and vitamin D. People who had higher levels of vitamin D had a reduction in nasal polyps size compared to those with lower amounts. This implies that vitamin D plays a vital role in shrinking the size of nasal polyps.
Vitamin D Anti-Inflammatory Activity
Vitamin D plays an important role in lowering inflammation of the entire body, including nasal polyps-related ones. The vitamin does this by regulating the inflammatory cytokines as well as immune cells, which contribute to the pathogenesis of nasal polyps if left unchecked.
Or we can say (based on the above subtopic) vitamin D modulates the immune system, which helps to lower inflammation in the nasal passages and sinuses. This way, the size of nasal polyps is reduced.
In one study, there was vitamin D supplementation for people with chronic sinusitis. The participants were given vitamin D or a placebo, and after several weeks, those who took the vitamin had significantly smaller nasal polyps than those who took the placebo.
Remember that chronic nasal polyps can lead to breathing issues, loss of sense of smell, and frequent infections. And surgery could be the only way to get rid of them completely.
Signs and Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is very important due to its powerful effects on our bodies. Unlike other vitamins, this vitamin functions like a hormone, and each cell in our body has a receptor for it.
In most cases, some people do not show any vitamin D deficiency symptoms – they are asymptomatic. And if these indications do appear, then you are in urgent need of the vitamin. Some of them include;
- Sleeping issues
- Feeling of sadness or depression
- Getting sick or infected more easily
- Bone pain or achiness
- Hair loss
- Pale skin
- Loss of appetite
- Muscle weakness
If these signs and symptoms manifest, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Because vitamin D influences almost all body processes, including bone maintenance and development, nervous system, and immune system, ignoring the above pointers could lead to extreme conditions.
Great Sources of vitamin D
Fixing your vitamin D deficiency will greatly benefit your overall health. This should be your first priority when you want to manage nasal polyps.
You can get vitamin D from sunlight. When your body is exposed to sunlight, it makes its own vitamin D from cholesterol. So save time for sun basking, especially in the morning.
You can also get vitamin D from natural food sources such as fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), egg yolk, fish liver and beef liver, milk, cereals, etc.
Otherwise, you can go for vitamin D supplementation. Indeed, research indicates that unless you get 10-20 minutes of sunlight per day (on most areas of your body) regularly, you should opt for a quality vitamin D supplement.
P.S. Two Things You NEED to KNOW when selecting a Vitamin D Supplement
If you opt for vitamin D supplements, keep these two points in mind (or ask your pharmacist/doctor if in doubt):
1. Never take Vitamin D Without Vitamin K2
Just as important as vitamin D is taking vitamin K2! Taking Vitamin D without vitamin K could actually be harmful to your health.
When it comes to calcium metabolism, vitamins D and K work together. Both play important roles. Vitamin D gets calcium into your blood and Vitamin K gets it to the bones and prevents the calcium from accumulating in your arteries, kidneys or heart.
You don’t want rogue calcium going to the wrong places, causing joint stiffness or arterial plaque. Vitamin K2 insures that your body uses calcium properly.
2. Get a clinically absorbable form of Vitamin D
A number of cheaper brands of Vitamin D on the market are not absorbable to significant levels. When vitamin D cannot be absorbed, your body is unable to assimilate and you will not get the benefits.
There are a number of good brands out there and your pharmacist or doctor will be able to recommend a suitable one. Personally I am using Purality Health Vitamin D3 + Vitamin K2as it ticks all the boxes – it contains vitamin D at the best absorbable form (liposomal D3), is combined with vitamin K2 at the optimal ratio, and is produced in an FDA-Registered Facility. Both me and my family have been using 8 pumps of this daily for over a year and our blood vitamin D levels always come up at the optimal level.