What does Vitamin D have to do with the flu?

People who get the flu may have lower levels of vitamin D.

Mayo Clinic. Diseases and Conditions: Influenza (flu), 2015.

Laaksi, I., Ruohola, J.P., Tuohimaa, P., et al., An association of serum vitamin D concentrations < 40 nmol/L with acute respiratory tract infection in young Finnish men. Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 86(3): p. 714-7.

 

Sabetta, J.R., DePetrillo, P., Cipriani, R.J., et al., Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d and the incidence of acute viral respiratory tract infections in healthy adults. PLoS One, 2010. 5(6): p. e11088.

Vitamin D can help reduce the inflammatory cascade initiated by the influenza virus and increase the anti-viral proteins produced by the body. This may also reduce the risk of developing pneumonia which is the primary complication from the flu that can result in mortality.

Cannell, J.J., Vieth, R., Umhau, J.C., et al., Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect, 2006. 134(6): p. 1129-40.

 

Sundaram, M.E., McClure, D.L., VanWormer, J.J., et al., Influenza vaccination is not associated with detection of noninfluenza respiratory viruses in seasonal studies of influenza vaccine effectiveness. Clin Infect Dis, 2013. 57(6): p. 789-93.

 

Grant, W.B. and E. Giovannucci, The possible roles of solar ultraviolet-B radiation and vitamin D in reducing case-fatality rates    from the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in the United States. Dermatoendocrinol, 2009. 1(4): p. 215-9.

Influenza infections increase during the winter, which is when vitamin D levels are known to decrease in the population.

Hypponen, E. and C. Power, Hypovitaminosis D in British adults at age 45 y: nationwide cohort study of dietary and lifestyle predictors. Am J Clin Nutr, 2007. 85(3): p. 860-8.

Having higher levels of vitamin D may help decrease recovery time from an influenza infection.

Grant, W.B. and E. Giovannucci, The possible roles of solar ultraviolet-B radiation and vitamin D in reducing case-fatality rates from the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in the United States. Dermatoendocrinol, 2009. 1(4): p. 215-9.

Cannell, J.J., Vieth, R., Umhau, J.C., et al., Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect, 200 Aloia, J.F. and M. Li-Ng, Re: epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect, 2007. 135(7): p. 1095-6; author reply 1097-8.. 134(6): p. 1129-40.

Some researchers recommend higher vitamin D levels to protect against influenza.

Dr. John Cannell (vitamin D researcher)” When the winter flu season arrives, be sure to take vitamin D supplements to maintain a vitamin D status between 40-80 ng/ml”

If you need to be tested for Vitamin D levels or require advice on the safe and effective use of Vitamin D, please let us know.  We would love to help you.

**The article is not intended to provide medical advice. This article is for information purposes only. Being given this article does not constitute a physician-patient relationship. The medical and/or nutritional information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on this here. Acceptance of this article constitutes acknowledgement and acceptance of these limitations and disclaimers.

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