Vitamin D reduces the risk of getting the flu by up to 50%
According to doctors in Japan, the risk of children suffering from flu can be reduced by 50% if they take vitamin D. This finding has potential implications for flu epidemics since vitamin D, — which is naturally produced by the human body when exposed to direct sunlight — has no significant side effects, costs little, and can be several times more effective than anti-viral drugs or vaccines according to research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Only one in ten children, aged six to 15 years, taking the sunshine vitamin in a clinical trial came down with flu compared with one in five given a dummy tablet. Mitsuyoshi Urashima, the Japanese doctor who led the trial, told The Times that vitamin D was more effective than vaccines in preventing the flu.
Dr. Damien Downing, a doctor, and medical consultant has publicly stated that governments “do like” epidemics as a chance to impose their will. The London-based doctor has been advising patients to increase their vitamin D intake rather than get the vaccine.
You might be shocked to know that there are many physicians in both Canada and the United States who prescribe as much as 50,000 IU of vitamin D daily as a treatment for a long list of chronic diseases.
Dr. John Cannell, MD, suggests high-dose vitamin D (50,000 IU) be consumed for three days at the first sign of a cold or the flu. If you have an infection, the truth is you need more vitamin D. That’s a given. In other words, vitamin D acts as a natural antibiotic. It works against every type of microbe (viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites).
Vitamin D deficiency is common during the winter months, especially in countries far north of the equator. Vitamin D acts as an immune system modulator, preventing excessive production of inflammatory cytokines and increasing macrophage (a type of white cell) activity.
Vitamin D also stimulates the production of potent anti-microbial peptides in other white blood cells and in epithelial cells lining the respiratory tract, protecting the lungs from infection.
Altogether 354 children took part in the trial. Vitamin D was found to protect against influenza A but not against the less common influenza B. The trial, which was double-blind, randomized, and fully controlled scientifically, was conducted by doctors and scientists from Jikei University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan.
The children were given a daily dose of 1200 IUs (international units) of vitamin D over a period of three months. In the first month, children in the group taking the vitamin became ill just as often as those taking the dummy tablet. But by the second month, when the vitamin level in the children’s blood was higher, the advantage of the vitamin was clear.
The Japanese scientists, writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, say that the antiviral drugs zanamivir and oseltamivir reduce the risk of flu infection by 8 percent in children who have been exposed to infection, compared with a 50 percent or greater reduction in vitamin D.
Anti-virals are typically more effective than vaccines for the influenza virus which suggest that both forms of medical intervention would consistently fail in similar studies when pitted against vitamin D.
Anti-virals are also too expensive, and possibly too toxic, to be given to the population as a whole whereas vitamin D has additional benefits. The sunshine vitamin not only prevents bone fractures but is also believed to reduce risks of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other illness, including various bacterial as well as viral infections.
The Japanese finding supports a theory that low blood levels of the sunshine vitamin occurring in winter explain why flu epidemics generally peak between December and March.
Vitamin D activates the innate immune system, enabling the body to produce several proteins such as defensin and cathelicidin which trigger cell activity and disable viruses.
Dr. John Oxford, professor of virology at Queen Mary School of Medicine, London, said: “This is a timely study. It will be noticed by scientists. It fits in with the seasonal pattern of flu. There is an increasing background of solid science that makes the vitamin D story credible.”
Researchers have recently pinpointed the mechanism behind vitamin D3’s ability to enhance the immune system and why it is so critical to our health.