Vitamin D Supplements Improve Immune System
Feb 17, 2017 03:44 PM EST
Researchers claim that Vitamin D supplements could save more than three million people from colds or flu in the UK each year. They say that the sunshine vitamin is not only vital to healthy bones, but also the immune system.
The analysis, published in the British Medical Journal, argues that food should be complemented with the Vitamin D. The researchers emphasized that Vitamin D should be regularly taken for improved bone and muscle health, as it regulates the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, which are vital for the growth and maintenance of healthy bones, teeth and muscles.
According to the researchers, the immune system is also believed to use Vitamin D to make antimicrobial weapons that puncture holes in bacteria and viruses, preventing our bodies from being infected. Trials on using supplements to prevent infections have given mixed results, so the researchers collected data from 11,321 people from 25 separate trials to try to get a definitive answer.
The data findings concluded that one person would be spared infection for every 33 taking vitamin D supplements. The team at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) supported the findings, and identified respiratory tract infections, which covers a wide range of illnesses, from a sniffle to flu to pneumonia.
That can be more effective than flu vaccination although flu is far more serious than the common cold, according to a research article published in Wiley. In fact, greater benefits are available for those taking pills daily or weekly, rather than in monthly super-doses, especially for those who have vitamin D deficiency.
One of the researchers, Prof Adrian Martineau, said, "Assuming a UK population of 65 million, and that 70% have at least one acute respiratory infection each year." He then said that daily or weekly Vitamin D supplements will mean 3.25 million fewer people would get at least one acute respiratory infection a year.
Apart from encouraging the intake of Vitamin D supplements, the researchers at QMUL ultimately aim for Vitamin D to be added to food. "By demonstrating this new benefit of vitamin D, our research strengthens the case for introducing food fortification to improve vitamin D levels in countries, such as the UK where profound vitamin D deficiency is common," Prof Martineau said.