Vitamin D Cut Risk of Flu

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A new study indicates that Vitamin D may reduce the incidence and severity of influenza and other infections of the upper respiratory tract. 

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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