Living in the beautiful northwest like we do, odds are that you don’t get enough vitamin D. The same holds true if you don’t get outside for at least a 15-minute daily walk in the sun. Being deficient in vitamin D may increase the risk of a whole host of chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, depression and multiple sclerosis among others, and even the seasonal flu. Recently, studies have come to light showing how vitamin D can help our immune system to combat the flu and respiratory infections.
A 2017 study published in ’The British Medical Journal’ analyzed data from around 11,000 participants in 25 clinical trials conducted in 14 countries. The study was conducted by a consortium of 25 investigators from 21 institutions worldwide, and was funded by the National Institute for Health Research.
Lead Research Professor Adrian Martineau said, “This major collaborative research effort has yielded the first definitive evidence that vitamin D really does protect against respiratory infections. Our analysis of pooled raw data from each of the 10,933 trial participants allowed us to address the thorny question of why vitamin D ‘worked’ in some trials, but not in others. 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 spaced doses.”
It is thought that vitamin D protects against respiratory infections by boosting levels of antimicrobial peptides — natural antibiotic-like substances in the lungs.
“Overall, the reduction in risk of acute respiratory infection induced by vitamin D was on a par with the protective effect of injectable ‘flu vaccine against ‘flu-like illnesses.”
Another study, performed in Japan in 2009, showed the same results. Japanese school children were tested to see if taking daily vitamin D supplements would prevent seasonal flu. Half of the study participants received pills that contained 1,200 IU of vitamin D, the other half received placebo pills. Researchers found that type A influenza rates in the vitamin D group were about 40% lower than in the placebo group.
Vitamin D supplementation is safe and inexpensive, so reductions in acute respiratory infections brought about by vitamin D supplementation could be highly cost-effective.
Based on this research, I would recommend you add vitamin D to your daily diet to help boost your immune system this winter season. If you have any questions or would like more information on this product, please contact our office at 208-966-4425.
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Dr. Wayne M. Fichter Jr. is a chiropractor at Natural Spine Solutions. The business is located at 3913 Schreiber Way in Coeur d’Alene, 208-966-4425.