A new study published in the British Medical Journal confirms that taking Vitamin D can help boost your immune system and either prevent you from getting a cold or flu virus or significantly shorten the duration of your illness.
Due to this discovery, some doctors are calling for more food to be fortified with the vitamin.
In the past, trials on whether vitamins prevent viruses have been mixed, so the researchers at Queen Mary University of London with an international cohort team took to poring over data from 25 of such experiments. The data examined the effectiveness of vitamin D and upper respiratory infections in over 11,321 people.
It was found that for every 33 people taking vitamin D supplements, one person was spared an upper respiratory infection.
Senior study author Carlos Camargo, MD, DrPH, of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) stated:
“Most people understand that vitamin D is critical for bone and muscle health. Our analysis has also found that it helps the body fight acute respiratory infection, which is responsible for millions of deaths globally each year.”
It was found that taking daily or weekly supplements of the vitamin yielded the best results, as taking one super dose did not seem to really help ward off infections.
“Our study reports a major new indication for vitamin D supplementation: the prevention of acute respiratory tract infection. We also show that people who are very deficient in vitamin D and those receiving daily or weekly supplementation without additional bolus doses experienced particular benefit. Our results add to the body of evidence supporting the introduction of public health measures such as food fortification to improve vitamin D status, particularly in settings where profound vitamin D deficiency is common.”
The researchers say that this could have a huge impact on healthcare if more people begin to take vitamin D tablets or food is fortified with it.
Camargo says that acute respiratory infections are responsible for a large percentage of emergency room visits, especially in areas where vitamin D deficiency is common. This could cut down on out-of-pocket expenses as well as government expenses for countries on single-payer systems.
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