Move over vitamin C. When it comes to warding off the flu virus and colds, studies shows vitamin D trumps vitamin C. But are you getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and diet alone?
Studies link low vitamin D levels with flu virus
Compelling evidence links low vitamin D levels with illness.
One study showed vitamin D-deficient subjects were 36 percent more likely to report an upper respiratory infection than those with higher levels. That rate jumped significantly for those with asthma.
Another study found children taking vitamin D supplements suffered almost half as many incidences of the flu virus than the children not taking vitamin D.
Also, vitamin D levels were found to be lower in children who died of swine flu than in those who survived.
Vitamin D benefits go beyond fighting the flu
Vitamin D does so much more than fight the flu. Sufficient vitamin D lowers the risk of cancer, autoimmune disease, gum disease, heart disease, diabetes, pulmonary disease, and weak bones.
Are you getting enough vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a corner stone to good health, however research shows many people do not get enough from sunlight and diet alone. In general, we spend most of our lives indoors, wear sunscreen when outside, and don’t eat a vitamin D-rich diet.
More than 40 percent of the population and 60 percent of children are estimated deficient. Blacks, Hispanics, and other populations with darker skin show the highest rates of deficiency. Living at a northern latitude, obesity, and aging also increase the risk for deficiency. One study found 60 percent of postmenopausal to be deficient in vitamin D.
Boosting your vitamin D levels
Supplementing with vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and its cofactors will help you outpace the flu and prevent disease. A 25-hydroxy vitamin D test is the most accurate way to measure and monitor your levels, with optimal levels falling between 50–80 ng/mL. However if you suffer from an autoimmune disease or other chronic illness, your practitioner may recommend a more specific goal.