Can This Vitamin Protect Against Colds and Flu?
The sunshine vitamin—vitamin D—plays an important role in good health. It helps regulate calcium and phosphorous absorption, strengthens teeth and bones, and promotes bone growth. A new analysis shows vitamin D also may improve immunity against respiratory viruses.
Recently published in the online journal BMJ, this analysis suggests vitamin D supplements may help reduce the risk for colds, flu, and other respiratory infections in people who do not get enough of the vitamin through diet or sunlight exposure. Earlier research has shown that an adequate intake of vitamin D also may help prevent diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), certain kinds of cancer, and type 1 diabetes.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU (international units) for children and adults aged one to 70 years—including women who are pregnant or breastfeeding—and 800 IU for people over the age of 70. Oily fish, like salmon, contain significant levels of vitamin D and a number of foods—milk and other dairy products, orange juice, and cereals, for example—are fortified with the vitamin.
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