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Vitamin D May Help You Beat the Flu

It is not new news that vitamin D may help you avoid coming down with the flu. However, despite numerous studies, it was not until recently that the link was tested in a rigorous clinical trial.

The study was conducted by researchers from Jikei University School of Medicine in Japan who recruited 134 schoolchildren for their double-blind placebo controlled trial. Their results were published in the April 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

For the study, the researchers divided the schoolchildren into two groups. One group was given a daily supplement of vitamin D3 (1200 iu) and the other was given a placebo over the course of 4 months.

The researchers found that schoolchildren in the D3 group were 7% less likely to catch the flu compared to the placebo group.

The protective effect was exponentially higher among students with low levels of vitamin D at the start of the study, with a 74% reduction in the incidence of flu observed by the researchers.

The researchers also found a significant reduction in asthma attacks among students taking the vitamin D3.

Although this study used a young population, the researchers say the findings should be applicable across all age groups. Since the results were most positive when the participants had lower levels of vitamin D, these findings may be particularly important for populations known for having vitamin D deficiency like mature adults and people in colder climates.

It is important to remember that vitamin D does much more than just fend off the flu, in fact, it has been shown to boost muscle and bone health, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and even boost your mood.

If you need to increase your vitamin D intake, consider getting more exposure to sunlight. Alternatively, you can take a vitamin D supplement and eat more foods fortified with vitamin D such as orange juice, yogurt, cereals and margarine.

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