Vitamin D Pills in Flu Prevention

A recent study published by the British Medical Journal stated that food should be fortified with vitamin D in order to strengthen the immune system. The study was aimed at the prevention of acute respiratory tract infections but some think that this can be broadened to many other infections.

However,  Public Health England, argues that there is not enough evidence and data to prove these conclusions.

The immune system uses vitamin D to produce white blood cells, one type of white blood cell is the T cell and cytotoxic T cells are used to perforate the cell membrane of bacteria and pathogens using a substance known as perforin. This means the cell membrane is freely open to substances which leads to cell death.

The study suggested that one in every 33 people would be spared from infection if they took vitamin D supplements. Lead researcher, Professor Martineau stated that 3.25 million fewer people would get at least one acute respiratory infection a year.  However, this could be due to other factors, hence the PHE stating that the study is inconclusive.  Around 11, 321 people participated in the trial and vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of acute respiratory tract infection among all participants.

More research is needed to prove the extent of the benefits of vitamin D, however it can not be denied that an increase in vitamin D intake is beneficial in all accounts as long as it is not taken in excess, as in these cases, it would lead to kidney and heart diseases.

 

References:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38988982

http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.i6583

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/study-linking-vitamin-d-to-reduced-cold-and-flu-risk-is-too-good-to-be-true/article34073839/

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/875937

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