Vitamin D is not a vitamin after all. Turns out it’s a “steroid precursor” with direct effects on our immune systems.
Maybe we should have taken our cue from the ability of the human body to produce “Vitamin D” from sunshine alone whereas we must take in other vitamins and minerals through food sources. Science is still figuring out so much about how the human body works that we are in a constant state of catch-up in our knowledge about nutrition.
A recent double-blind, randomized study in Tokyo, Japan, of over 300 schoolchildren aged six to 15 years found that those with higher levels of Vitamin D in their blood experienced a 50% or greater reduction in flu infections. Only one in ten children given Vitamin D during the study came down with flu, while one in five of the children given a placebo got the flu.
During the 2012-2013 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) credit the flu vaccine for reducing doctor’s visits for flu by one-half, or about 50%. This efficacy rate varies each year as vaccine makers have to guess which flu strains might be common months ahead of the actual flu season.
“Mitsuyoshi Urashima, the Japanese doctor who led the trial, told The Times that vitamin D was more effective than vaccines in preventing flu,” reports PreventDisease.com.
Since Vitamin D increases the body’s production of anti-microbial peptides (AMP), it makes sense to increase Vitamin D supplements during times of infection from cold and flu viruses. Research suggests that the correct dosage of Vitamin D3 is as much as 5,000 IUs (International Units)/day for adults, particularly those with impaired immune function, and perhaps even higher doses during times of health crises.
As with any supplements, be careful as over-supplementing can sometimes bring harmful effects.