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Vitamin D May Fight Flu

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Vitamin D may help ward off influenza infections during the winter. Grandma always used to administer cod liver oil to keep the family healthy during flu season. Many health professionals relegated this quaint practice to folk medicine at best and an old wives' tale at worst.

Now Japanese scientists have shown that vitamin D supplements seem to protect school children from seasonal influenza A. 334 children between the ages of 6 and 15 were randomized to receive either 1200 International Units of vitamin D 3 daily or a placebo for four months.

The children getting vitamin D were much less likely to come down with the flu compared to those on placebo. The investigators note that vitamin D3 is crucial for the body to produce key anti-viral peptides such as defensin, which are essential for immune response. Although children with asthma did not get the same protection against influenza A, they were less likely to have a wheezing episode if they were in the Vitamin D group. The authors conclude that vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter might reduce the likelihood that children will come down with type A influenza.

[American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, May, 2010]

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2 Comments

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Vitmnin D seems to work very well for my wife and I. We never have colds and have never had the flu . The last cold I had was in 2005 after a plane trip next to a young Chinese boy who had just returned form a trip to Taiwan with a severe cold.
My wife and I both take 2,000 IU of D3 every day. I am 81 years old and my wife is 85. I take no prescription drugs. My wife takes only Metoprolol and Avalide. Whatever we are doing (or not doing) seems to be working well.

I have recently started taking vitamin D capsules and now I itch very bad all over. I have not taken D for 4 days and I still itch. I also take 1200 mg of calcium a day and the calcium also contains 500 iu of vitamin D. Could my itching be from the D or the calcium? I am not taking anything else new.

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