The Secret Weapon in Fighting Influenza: Vitamin D

As we stand at the cusp of what many officials have referred to as a “virus of pandemic proportions,” we are all bracing ourselves for the worst and hoping for the best.  People all over the world are already getting colds and flus and the swine flu is continuing to spread like a wild fire.  You can take Vitamin C and Zinc, but perhaps that is not what your body needs.  Studies have shown that deficiencies in Vitamin D have a direct effect on the immune system.  Your body’s vitamin D levels are at their lowest levels during winter time.  The end result is a lowered immune system and increases in colds and flu.

If you can imagine that your body is a plant.  A plant needs sunlight to create the photosynthesis process to thrive.  Without the sunlight, the plant withers and dies.  Our bodies are much the same.  They need certain things to thrive, and Vitamin D is one of them.  Dr. John Cannell MD, states that our Vitamin D levels are 1/3 of what they are in the summertime.

“All of epidemiology will be changed by this…  The effect vitamin D has in preventing influenza and the common cold should not be over estimated.  Especially with pandemic influenza.”

According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, to get more Vitamin D in our diets, the U.S. government created a  fortification program to provide more sources of Vitamin D.   Foods such as milk, orange juice and breakfast cereals were among those fortified, but it still is not enough for the human body to use to combat immune attackers.
Selected Food Sources of Vitamin D  

Food

IUs per serving*

Percent DV**

Cod liver oil, 1 tablespoon

1,360

340

Mushrooms, enriched with vitamin D, 3 ounces

400

100

Salmon, cooked, 3.5 ounces

360

90

Mackerel, cooked, 3.5 ounces

345

86

Sardines, canned in oil, drained, 1.75 ounces

250

63

Tuna fish, canned in oil, 3 ounces

200

50

Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup (check product labels, as amount of added vitamin D varies)

142

36

Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup

98

25

Yogurt, fortified with 20% of the DV for vitamin D, 6 ounces (more heavily fortified yogurts provide more of the DV)

80

20

Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon

60

15

Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, 0.75-1 cup (more heavily fortified cereals might provide more of the DV)

40

10

Egg, 1 whole (vitamin D is found in yolk)

20

5

Liver, beef, cooked, 3.5 ounces

15

4

12

3

They also go on to mention that if you take Vitamin D at high amounts for a longer period of time, “toxicity can occur and cause symptoms such as: nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness and weight loss.  More seriously, it can also raise blood levels of calcium, causing mental status changes such as confusion and heart rhythm abnormalities.”

However, studies were shown stating that “excessive sun exposure does not result in vitamin D toxicity because the sustained heat on the skin is thought to photodegrade previtamin D3 and vitamin D3 as it is formed.   High intakes of dietary vitamin D are very unlikely to result in toxicity unless large amounts of cod liver oil are consumed; toxicity is more likely to occur from high intakes of supplements.”

Via: readynutrition


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