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Vitamin D May Combat Colds

Taking a daily vitamin D supplement may help you avoid catching a cold during the flu season according to a study published in the August 2010 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Researchers from the University of Tampere in Finland recruited 164 young men for the study. The young men were given either a daily supplement containing 400 IU of vitamin D or a placebo pill for 6 months from October-March. The researchers chose October-March because that is the time of year that people’s vitamin D levels generally decline and the rate of respiratory issues increases.

During the 6 month period, 51% of the participants taking the vitamin D supplement stayed healthy whereas only 36% stayed healthy in the placebo group.

Their findings show that vitamin D may provide a boost to the immune system and help people ward off respiratory illnesses. Larger clinical trials are still needed in order to dig deeper into the findings.

Recent studies have found that vitamin D may play a much larger role in overall health than initially thought. As a result, many experts are now urging higher daily recommendations for the vitamin, especially among seniors.

With over 90% of seniors deficient in vitamin D, higher daily recommendations may not be a bad idea. Previous research has shown that this important vitamin may be important for everything from reducing the risk of dementia, to lowering the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Vitamin D levels can be increased by taking a daily vitamin D supplement or incorporating more vitamin D fortified foods into the diet. Some foods that are often fortified with vitamin D are yogurt, milk, orange juice, cereals and margarine.

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