Vitamin D can stop colds and flu!
The cold and flu season seems to last longer and longer every year but have faith, there may be a solution.
Supplementing your Vitamin D intake could save £3m people in the UK from getting cold and flu according to the British Medical Journal. The sunshine vitamin is not only key for healthy bones and muscles but also for its role in supporting our immune systems. The immune system uses this Vitamin D to produce antimicrobials which can kill bacteria and viruses in the body.
Public Health England also recommends Vitamin D supplementation in autumn and winter (or all year round for people who get little sunlight or cover up a lot). As vitamin D is produced in the skin whilst in the sun, many of us in England have low levels, especially during the winter.
A study by Queen Mary University that combined the results of 11,321 results from 25 separate trials looked at the affect of Vitamin D intake on the respiratory tract. This includes anything from a runny nose to pneumonia and showed that 1 in 33 people would be spared infection by taking supplements. This doesn’t sound that effective, but when you compare it to the 1 in 40 success rate of the flu vaccination you see that it is actually quite effective.
When crunching the numbers, this means that on a UK population of 65million people, 70% of whom get at least one acute respiratory infection per year, there would be 3.25 million fever infections per year! A staggering number.
The study also showed that people having smaller doses often benefited more than those having mega doses or who were already deficient.
As a result of these findings researchers want vitamin D to be added to food in the UK to provide a steady, low level does of vitamin D and eliminate this deficiency in millions of people.
What’s so special about Vitamin D?
It regulates the amount of phosphate and calcium in the body which are both important for the health of Teeth, bones and muscles. Low levels can even lead to rickets in children or osteomalacia in adults, which causes severe bone pain and muscle aches.
So what are the downsides of Vitamin D?
As with all good things, moderation is the key. Excessive Vitamin D can lead to high levels of calcium in the blood which can cause heart and kidney issues.
How can I get more vitamin D?
Certain foods have a limited amount of the vitamin such as oily fish, eggs and fortified cereals.
Vitamin D supplements/ tablets are also a great way to get the correct dose quickly, cheaply and efficiently.
Our skin makes the vitamin D our body needs when it is exposed to the sunlight. The ultraviolet B (UVB) rays trigger the mechanism to produce a chemical that gets carried by our blood down to the liver, where it is converted to vitamin D.
Sundbed also provide UVB rays and so also trigger the same process.
However, it is well known that sunbeds, much like the sun, also deliver more harmful UVA rays which can damage our DNA and in worst cases lead to skin damage or skin cancer. Here at Bodilight we recommend moderate, responsible use of sunbeds in order to get the benefits without the harmful side effects. Sunbeds are also best used in the winter months when the suns rays are weakest and vitamin D deficiency is likely to be most prevalent.