Can Getting Your Daily Sunshine Keep the Flu Away? Here is Why Vitamin D Supplements Are a Must This Winter
Scientists may have found something new about vitamin D – cold protection. This is yet another reason why you should get some sun everyday. But experts recommend taking a vitamin D supplement for even better protection.
Your largest source of vitamin D is the sun. When sunlight hits your skin, it catalyzes a chemical reaction that converts precursor chemicals into active vitamin D. That's why doctors recommend getting sunlight daily – of course, you still have to protect yourself with sunscreen to block out the bad components of the sun's rays that accelerate aging and cause skin cancer.
Getting your daily sunlight becomes even more important in the winter because daylight hours are shorter. In fact, the weak winter sunlight in some latitudes has been found to cause lower levels of vitamin D synthesis, which means if you're unlucky enough to live in certain places, getting more sun in the winter won't help raise your declining vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with depression during the winter season (as well as many other diseases). But now scientists have found that vitamin D may even play a role in protecting you against flus and colds! Researchers found that people who took vitamin D supplements had a lesser prevalence of colds and flus than those who didn't take the supplements. The prevalence of colds and flus was especially lower in groups that were vitamin D deficient and took supplements.
These findings are especially important this winter because doctors are saying this flu season is one of the more severe ones. The number of children dying of the flu in New York is increasing, and the flu season won't reach a low until March.
This means you should protect you and your loved ones by starting vitamin D supplementation daily. Sunlight isn't enough – especially when you're not outside often because it's cold.
Some other supplements that will help protect you and your children from the flu are:
Vitamin C. Researchers found that taking vitamin C supplements boost your immunity. When specifically studied for cold and flu prevention, they found that taking higher doses of vitamin C helps lessen symptoms and shorten the duration of a cold or flu infection.
Garlic supplements. Researchers also found that allicin, which is found in garlic, can help prevent cold viruses from attacking your respiratory system. Garlic supplements have stronger concentrations of allicin, and participants who took them had a lower prevalence of colds.
While the flu season is raging, take your vitamin D, vitamin C, and garlic supplements to protect yourself and your family from colds and flus.