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With winter well and truly now upon us, many minds turn to how one can protect oneself with the upcoming cold months ahead. Finding a supplement which not only helps to protect us against colds and flus, but also to treat feelings of low mood caused by a lack of sunshine and possibly reduce the risk of COVID-19 seems almost unfathomable. However, numerous studies and health experts praise the power of vitamin D supplements to help protect you during the winter months. How?
Reducing the risk of developing the flu
Studies have found that taking vitamin D can lower the odds of developing respiratory infections like the cold and the flu, especially among people who have documented deficiencies.
Vitamin D helps our immune systems stay balanced during the cold and flu season and serve as a pharmacy resource, said Pharmacy Times.
The site continued: “There are Vitamin D receptors and activating enzymes on the surfaces of all White Blood Cells.
“The role that vitamin D plays in keeping the immune system healthy is very complex because the immune system has to be perfectly balanced.
“If there is too much stimulation, autoimmune diseases can set in.
“If there is not enough immune system activity, frequent infections can occur.”
In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza in schoolchildren was investigated.
The study noted: “From December 2008 through March 2009, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial comparing vitamin D3 supplements with placebo in schoolchildren.
“The primary outcome was the incidence of influenza A, diagnosed with influenza antigen testing with a nasopharyngeal swab specimen.”
The study concluded that vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A, especially in specific subgroups of schoolchildren.
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Vitamin D could help with symptoms of depression
Studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and depression.
In a study published in the Journal of Psychiatry, researchers noticed that study participants with depression also had low vitamin D levels.
The same analysis found that, statistically, people with low vitamin D were at a much greater risk of depression.
The researchers believe that because vitamin D is important to healthy brain function, insufficient nutrient levels may play a role in depression and other mental illnesses.
Protect against COVID-19
A new global collaborative study has confirmed that vitamin D supplementation can help protect against acute respiratory infections.
The study, a participant data meta-analysis of 25 randomized controlled trials including more than 11,000 participants, has been published online in the BMJ.
“Most people understand that vitamin D is critical for bone and muscle health,” said Carlos Camargo of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), the study’s senior author.
“Our analysis has also found that it helps the body fight acute respiratory infection, which is responsible for millions of deaths globally each year.”
There has been much speculation and many theories regarding the use of vitamin D supplements to help protect against COVID-19.
A mountain of studies has found an overwhelming amount of people who test positive for COVID-19 do not have enough vitamin D in their bodies and the sickest of patients are often deficient.
Dr David Jolliffe, from Queen Mary University of London said: “Vitamin D supplements are low in cost, low in risk and widely accessible; if proven effective, they could significantly aid in our global fight against the virus”.
Professor Adrian Martineau added: “There is mounting evidence that vitamin D might reduce the risk of respiratory infections, with some recent studies suggesting that people with lower vitamin D levels may be more susceptible to coronavirus.”
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