Study: Vitamin D Protects Against Cold and Flu

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Findings from a global collaborative study confirms that Vitamin D supplementation can protect against respiratory tract infection. The study was conducted with 11,000 participants and its findings are published in The BMJ.

According to Carlos Camargo, MD, DrPH, of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the study's senior author, Vitamin D is critical for both bone and muscle health. In addition, Vitamin D helps the body fight acute respiratory infection.

Previous observational studies also suggest that low Vitamin D levels are associated with greater susceptibility to acute respiratory infection. However, only some clinical trials confirm the protective ability of Vitamin D supplementation and meta-analysis of these trials offer conflicting results with respect to its protective effects.

The purpose of this study was to resolve these discrepancies. The researchers conducted an individual participant meta-analysis of trials that had been conducted across several countries including the U.S, Canada and the UK. Unlike traditional meta-analyses, this individual participant meta-analysis separated data from each individual participant in order to produce a higher resolution analysis of the data.

Findings suggest that daily or weekly supplementation of Vitamin D had the greatest beneficial effect for individuals with the most significant Vitamin D deficiency and cut their risk of respiratory infection by half. In addition, all participants reported some beneficial effects from regular supplementation of Vitamin D. Occasional high doses of Vitamin D however were not found to provide any significant benefits.

"Acute respiratory infections are responsible for millions of emergency department visits in the United States," says Camargo, who is a professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "These results could have a major impact on our health system and also support efforts to fortify foods with vitamin D, especially in populations with high levels of vitamin D deficiency."  

Source: The BMJ
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Published on : Thu, 16 Feb 2017


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vitamin D, respiratory tract infection, cold and flu Findings from a global collaborative study confirms that Vitamin D supplementation can protect against respiratory tract infection. The study was conducted with 11,000 participants and its findings are published in The BMJ.

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