By Gary D. Dillon, DC –
After years of research it is finally being noticed that cold and flu season (no matter where it occurs in the world) seems to coincide with severe weather. Now notice I said “severe weather” and not necessarily cold or wet weather. In some areas of the world cold and flu season link up with the severe hot and dry season. So, if it’s not the wet and cold that gives us the flu then what is it? What do all areas of the world have in common during cold and flu seasons even if their severe weather is different? As it turns out, it’s staying indoors.
We are learning more and more about how optimal vitamin D levels are essential for good health, preventing disease, and now perhaps even preventing infections (such as the flu). In fact “Abnormal levels of D are associated with a whole spectrum of diseases, including cancer, osteoporosis, and diabetes, as well as cardiovascular and autoimmune disorders”. (Kremer et al. March 2010 J. of Clin. Endocrinology). It is currently estimated that 50,000-70,000 U.S. residents die prematurely from cancer annually due to poor levels of vitamin D.
Vitamin D is made in the body when the sun hits the skin and since everyone tends to stay indoors more during severe weather Vitamin D production is greatly decreased making our bodies much more susceptible to infections such as colds and influenza. Present day humans are dangerously deficient in vitamin D anyway. People living in northern climates simply cannot get enough sun exposure to produce sufficient levels of vitamin D and those who live in hot sunny climates rarely get enough sun exposure due to clothing and/or sunscreens. Unless you are getting at least 30 minutes of summer sun exposure on large areas of your body such as your chest and back you are almost certainly deficient in Vit. D.
It is virtually impossible to obtain adequate amounts of Vitamin D (more specifically D3) from food because we were genetically designed to get it from exposure to sunlight. So unless you can get the required amount of sun exposure daily supplementation will be required. It is estimated that approximately 5000 iu are needed every day to be sufficient in Vitamin D3. (Dr. James Chestnut The Innate Diet). The D3 also needs to be from a naturally occurring source, not synthetic, and contaminate free.
As you can see Vitamin D sufficiency is an absolute must for wellness and prevention during all stages of life, from fetal development to old age. In the absence of adequate sun exposure, daily vitamin D3 supplementation for children and adults is essential. (Grant, WB and Holick, MF. Benefits and requirements of Vit. D for optimal health: A review. Alternative Medicine Review, Volume 10, number 2. 2005.)