Want to cut your chances of getting a cold or flu? Take your vitamin D. In the largest and most definitive evaluation to date, taking a regular supplement of vitamin D reduced the risk of an upper respiratory infection substantially. The study combined the data from 25 clinical trials including over 10,000 study subjects from countries all over the world. For study subjects who had low levels of vitamin D to start, the risk a developing a respiratory infection was reduced by half. Those with higher baseline blood levels benefited too, reducing risk their risk by about 10 percent. The researchers noted that the risk reduction for getting an acute respiratory infection afforded by taking vitamin D was overall equivalent to the protective effect of a flu-vaccine against a flu-like illness!
Keep in mind that it is near impossible in colder months to achieve normal blood levels of vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” without taking a supplement (BMJ, 2017; i6583 DOI: 10.1136/bmj.i6583). My standard advice is to take 2000 iu’s of vitamin D daily with a meal, or as directed by your health care provider based on your blood level. Getting your blood level checked yearly and following your provider’s guidance is prudent and wise.
For more health and wellness expertise, get your own copies of Dr. Ann’s Eat Right for Life books. Buy the Combo and get 1 Free Dr. Ann Grocery Guide!