The researchers at Yale University School of Medicine followed 198 healthy adults during the fall and winter of 2009-2010 to see if declining levels of vitamin D in the fall and winter could be a factor in the seasonal increased prevalence of respiratory viral infections, such as flu.
The study shows people who maintain vitamin D blood levels of 38 nanograms per milliliter or more are less likely to get flu than people with less vitamin D level in their blood.
- Of 18 people who maintained that level during the study period, only three developed viral infections.
- But of the 180 other participants with less vitamin D in their blood, 45% got sick with viral infections.
- Also, those with higher levels of vitamin D also experienced a marked reduction in the number of days they were ill.
This study suggested that supplementing vitamin D to achieve a blood level of 38 nanograms per milliliter or higher could result in a significant health benefit by reducing odds of contracting viral infections of the respiratory tract.
Vitamin D has been known to affect the immune system. This study reinforces the association between vitamin D deficiency and susceptibility to infections of the respiratory tract.
If you want to increase your vitamin D level, you should ingest milk or foods rich in vitamin D and getting more sunshine. For people in areas with less sunlight and for those who spend daylight hours in darker, indoor environments, taking vitamin D supplements might help you achieve the target level.
Source: Plos ONE, June 16, 2010.
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