Everyone knows that influenza (the Flu) and colds are more prevalent during winter months, and this is not a coincidence! People spend more time indoors which creates two problems. First since everyone is inside in rooms together it is just a whole lot easier to transmit viruses from one person to another. Second, we eliminate any exposure to sunshine on our skin.
While excessive sun exposure is not a good idea and can increase the risk of skin cancer, we need sunlight on our skin to produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D is not just important for bone health – it is also incredibly important to maintain immune function! For all of us living in the United States (with the exception of locations like Florida and Southern California) getting adequate exposure to sunlight to produce enough vitamin D for optimal health is impossible during winter months. So this means that your vitamin D levels drop and this has a direct impact on immune function AND the associated risk of catching the flu!
To learn how to safely optimize your Vitamin D levels through supplementation go to this blogpost: https://workoutanytime.blogspot.com/2017/07/how-to-optimize-benefits-of-vitamin-d.html
So is there really scientific evidence showing that optimizing Vitamin D levels can protect against the flu? The answer is a resounding YES! A review of 25 randomized controlled trials confirmed that vitamin D supplementation boosts immunity and cuts rates of cold and flu. The largest boost occurs in those who start with the lowest vitamin D levels (blood levels below 10 Ng/ML). In this group (which includes many Americans – particularly in the winter), taking a supplement cut their risk in half! People who started with higher vitamin D levels in the normal range only had a 10% reduction in risk.
The international research team who conducted this review stated that vitamin D supplementation could prevent more than 3.25 million cases of cold and flu each year in the United Kingdom alone. So while flu vaccines can provide some protection – the amount of protection provided varies greatly from year to year because scientists have to guess which strains to include in the vaccine. The potential protection from proper vitamin D supplementation is much greater, and there is no reason you cannot do both!
Make sure you click on the link above in this blogpost to a previous blogpost which gives you a step by step guide on how to optimize your Vitamin D levels through safe sun exposure and/or safe vitamin D supplementation based on simple at home Vitamin D tests that are now available.