Study: vitamin D protects against cold and fluTaking an extra dose of vitamin D protects against colds and flu. Vitamin D just keeps impressing us. This week we mentioned a study that found vitamin D helps boost muscle mass. And now a scientific review of 25 clinical trials across 14 countries has found that taking an extra dose of vitamin D wards off colds and flu.
Published in BMJ journal, the research team from the Queen Mary University of London said there was “the first definitive evidence” of an association between vitamin D and preventing respiratory infections.
Until now, the effectiveness of vitamin D in treating or preventing colds and flu has been controversial. Some studies have suggested it helps, while others say it has no effect at all.
The impressive review was the biggest-ever, with more than 11,000 people taking part.
“The bottom line is that the protective effects of vitamin D supplementation are strongest in those who have the lowest vitamin D levels, and when supplementation is given daily or weekly, rather than in more widely-spaces doses,” said lead author Adrian Martineau.
So how does vitamin D protect against colds and flu?Scientists discovered that vitamin D enhances the amount of peptides in the lungs that act like antibiotics. And that could be why we tend to get more flus in winter – our vitamin D levels are lower than in summer when we absorb more of the essential nutrient from the sun.
Does this mean you should take a vitamin D supplement? That’s something to discuss with your health professional. But it does show the importance of eating a balanced variety of fresh foods, to ensure you get all essential macro and micro nutrients.