Saturday, January 24, 2009

Vitamin D and the Flu???

It could be that if you have enough Vitamin D then you can fight off the flu and other viruses. In fact, according to an article published in Cambridge University Press Journal titled Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D, getting the flu might be SYMPTOMATIC of low vitamin D levels. The Vitamin D theory comes from the fact that flu season comes in the winter when vitamin D levels are lowest, medical records show flu epidemics occurring simultaneously in places of similar latitudes before people could travel from place to place to spread the germs and new scientific reports out of UCLA. One medical doctor wrote about how he noticed non of his patients who were taking 2,000 units of vitamin D contracted the flu during an outbreak, despite many patients around contracting the virus. You can read the entire story at He discovered the connection after reading a paper in Nature in which a group of scientists at UCLA described how Vitamin D was "in effect, a potent antibiotic" which contained antimicrobial peptides which destroyed "the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including the influenza virus, and play a key role in keeping the lungs free of infection."1

It seems our family's recent experience with the flu supports the vitamin D theory. My son came down with the flu last week. He was sick for six days with a fever. It was the first time he had been seriously sick in almost two years. He must have caught it in his preschool class because some of his classmates were sick at the same time. After six days of fever and him getting very, very sick, I started to do research on vitamins and that is when I stumbled on the vitamin D theory. I woke Alex up in the middle of the night to give him a drink with a drop of the vitamin D. Perhaps it is coincidence the next day he woke up almost better, and the next day completely better after a second dose. For many reasons having to do with food intolerances he had developed, I had stopped giving him his multivitamin or his rice milk which is fortified with vitamin D about a month ago. The next day, I resumed his Multistart vitamin which contains 400IU, which is the suggested daily allowance for his age group. Last year, one member of our family with low vitamin D levels was constantly sick...a year later they are not sick at all--and they managed to avoid the flu this year despite no flu shot and close contact with my son.

I hadn't come down with the flu but I was feeling like I might so I took 2,000 IU (which is two drops) hoping to fight it off. We will never know if it is the Vitamin D or the Diet Pepsi a dear friend of mine gave me when I was feeling almost fluish that prevented my from getting it. There are a thousand other reasons I might not have gotten it. And there are equal number or reasons I should have gotten it (sharing a bed with my son when he was sick, lack of sleep from too many late nights etc.) But isn't it interesting that the very young and the very old are most suseptible to getting the flu--and they are the ones least likely to be exposed to the sun during cold whether.

WHAT TO DO: Make sure your kids are getting the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended daily allowance of vitamin D of 400 IU. of D3 which is found in quality multivitamins, Vitamin D drops or cod liver oil. Also, people with fat malabsorption syndromes, like celiac, can sometimes poorly absorb vitamin D because it is a fat soluble vitamin. If you have celiac or if you are constantly sick, you might want to check vitamin D levels before beginning supplementation so that you can make sure the recommended daily allowance is enough. Of course, if you take a vacation to a sunny place, you won't need the extra vitamin D. If the

1. Epidemic Influenza and Vitamin D

Related Posts:
Vitamin D Drops for Infants, Kids and Adult


Betsy said...

Thanks for this post. We are all suffering from an extreme cold right now. I stopped taking my Vitamin D a few weeks ago when I had a stomach ache. We are all taking a dose tonight.

What kind of Vitamin D drop do you use?


Print this post
Our Family Is His said...

Our nutritionist has us on a "flu pack" for the winter cold and flu months. Vit D is a big part of that.

Print this post
Shirly Lawsonn said...

Make sure too that year-round the family is getting enough vitamin D through either supplements, vitamin D rich foods, or both.

Foods like fortified milk and soy are good sources of Vitamin D, as are some juices that are made especially for kids (less sugar and fortified with essential vitamins, including vitamin D such as First Juice

Print this post
Lynna Kay said...

Thank you for posting this! Our doctor just started us on vitamin d3 and I was not really taking it consistantly, but I am now! It has already helped to clear up some issues I was having!

Print this post