Vitamin D helps stave off winter flu, asthma
Taking vitamin D supplements during the months when we're most likely to be deficient could reduce the risk of seasonal flu and asthma flare-ups, a new study suggests.
During an earlier study into whether vitamin D could prevent osteoporosis, the researchers in that study noticed that people taking vitamin D were three times less likely to report cold and flu symptoms.
This prompted Japanese researchers to look into the issue more closely, studying
Vitamin D3 is more effective as a supplement than the commonly used vitamin D2, which is less potent and more difficult for the body to absorb.
The researchers found that while 31 of 167 taking the placebo caught influenza A during the study period (December 2008 to March 2009), only 18 of 167 children taking vitamin D caught the virus.
They reported that those in the vitamin D group were 58% less likely to catch the flu.
Another finding from the study was that vitamin D appeared to reduce the risk of asthma attacks in children with the condition.
Only two children taking vitamin D had asthma attacks during the study, compared to 12 in the placebo group.
Vitamin D, the "sunshine vitamin", is produced when the skin comes into contact with UVB ultraviolet rays.
Another source is foods such as eggs, mushrooms and some types of fish.
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