The Super Vitamin to Fight the Flu
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The Super Vitamin to Fight the Flu

A natural way to fight the flu. New research shows new benefits to Vitamin D. How well it works and how to increase your Vitamin D intake.

New science shows one vitamin to be a major help for anyone trying to fight (or avoid) the flu. And in this time of the H1N1 Swine Flu, we need to do all we can to protect ourselves and our families from getting sick.

So, what is this super vitamin? Why it’s none other than Vitamin D.

Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” as it is often absorbed into the body from sun exposure. Vitamin D has been known for various benefits including building bones and muscle. It has been linked to putting one at a lower risk for diabetes, cancer and autoimmune disease. Most recently researchers have found Vitamin D may also help improve lung function. This could explain an unexpected incident discovered in this flu test, explained below in the side note.

We can thank the Japanese for this new health information. Japanese researchers conducted a study with hundreds of children. It was a double-blind placebo study that tested how well children would be able to prevent getting the flu depending on their body’s Vitamin D content.

In the study, children taking the placebo pill had about an 18% chance of catching Influenza Type A. The kids who got the pills with Vitamin D only had about a 10% chance of getting sick. However, incidents of children getting sick with Influenza B were nearly identical between the groups. You can read more about the study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

One concern with the study was the timing of it. The kids didn’t start taking their pills until December, when the flu was already well into making its rounds. Researchers argue that the benefits with Vitamin D could have been even greater if the study had started a month or two earlier. Some believe it’s possible that a person needs to be taking Vitamin D regularly for some time for its full effects to be felt. So if you plan to begin taking Vitamin D to fight the flu, it’s probably best if you start several weeks before flu season starts.

So should you increase your Vitamin D? Yes. You should do it even if this study found there was no effect on the flu. The truth is that most of us (even those of us living in very civilized countries) are deficient in Vitamin D. Those who are overweight are at an even greater propensity for being deficient in this vitamin.

You don’t just have to turn to the sun for your daily dose of Vitamin D. This vitamin is often put into fortified milk, yogurt and cereals. A cup of fortified milk gives you about one half of your recommended daily Vitamin D intake (for people under 50). Fish are a very good natural source of Vitamin D. You can find it in Catfish, Salmon and Tuna. Eggs can also give you Vitamin D, but it will take 10 eggs to get your recommended daily allowance of it.

On a side note, this study revealed some other unexpected possible benefit to Vitamin D. There were fewer incidents of asthma attacks among the Vitamin D group compared to the placebo group. However, these numbers were too small to be considered scientific. But it’s enough of an affect that I would hope other scientists would begin doing research on Vitamin D’s affect on asthma.


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