New Study on Vitamin D Supplements and Colds and Flu: What You Need To Know

About the study
A new study published in the British Medical Journal looked at the correlation between vitamin D supplementation and the risk of developing acute respiratory tract infections (such as the common cold and flu, bronchitis, laryngitis and sinusitis).

In this study, researchers reviewed 25 randomized, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trials of vitamin D3 or vitamin D2 supplementation conducted in 14 countries, with a participant total of 11,321, between birth and the age of 95.

What did the study find?
The study found that vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of acute respiratory infection among all participants. It also found that vitamin D supplementation did produce a protective barrier against the risk of developing the cold and flu by 12% in those who were receiving daily or weekly vitamin D doses consistently (excluding vitamin D administered intravenously) versus with doses that were widely spread apart. The researchers further determined that protective effects against the cold and flu were greater in those who supplemented with vitamin D and whom were already vitamin D deficient.

What does this mean to me?
It’s during the winter months that we are not only at a greater risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency, but also a higher risk for catching a cold or flu. Nearly one quarter of Canadians are affected by the cold and flu each year, resulting in 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths. Those most at risk for complications resulting from these infections are the elderly, pregnant woman, those with compromised immune systems and children under the age of 5. This study demonstrates that vitamin D supplementation can be effective for reducing the risk of the colds and flu and consequently, their complications, missed work days and cancelled plans.

This study further adds even more to the growing body of evidence that vitamin D supplementation is one of the most important nutrients to help maintain overall good health. Not only does vitamin D help strengthen the bones and teeth, but vitamin D is also crucial for a healthy immune system. This is particularly true for Canadians as we are not able to produce vitamin D during the winter months, making vitamin D supplementation the only reliable source to help prevent deficiency.

Health Canada suggests that Canadians between the ages of 1 to 70 receive 600 IU of vitamin D per day, while the Canadian Cancer Society recommends 1,000 IU per day. It’s important to speak to your healthcare practitioner to determine the appropriate level of vitamin D supplementation, and to always follow the directions on the product label.

To read the full study click here

To read more about the benefits of vitamin D click here

To see Jamieson’s full lineup of vitamin D supplements click here