Skip to comments.Higher Vitamin D Levels Linked to Fewer Infections
Posted on 07/12/2010 5:27:45 PM PDT by CutePuppy
Previously I have highlighted the benefits vitamin D has with regard to improving the immune response and helping keep infections such as flu at bay.
It has been mooted that the upsurge in viral infections during the winter is connected with the generally lower vitamin D levels at this time. The traditional view is that winter infections are due to indoor crowding.
However, research indicates that flu epidemics do not occur in the summer in crowded workplaces despite the presence of the flu virus around people who should be susceptible to infection. This is based on research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention team in Atlanta, published in May 2001 in the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, and other research published in Volume 8 of Epidemiologic Reviews in 1986.
These facts were plucked from a study by the department of medicine at Yale University. Published in June in PLoS One journal, the study looked at the relationship between vitamin D levels and risk of viral respiratory tract infection such as cold and flu. This study assessed blood levels of vitamin D and viral infection in almost 200 American men and women throughout last autumn and winter.
This study produced some interesting findings:
Compared to individuals with vitamin D levels less than 38 ng/ml (95 mmol/l), individuals with levels of 38 ng/ml or above were about half as likely to suffer from a viral respiratory infection during the study period.
Of those with higher vitamin D levels (as defined above), 83 percent had no infections at all during the study period, compared to 55 per cent of those with lower levels.
Those with higher levels of vitamin D who succumbed to flu were ill for an average of two days per infection.
Those with lower levels of vitamin D who succumbed to flu were ill for an average of nine days per infection.
This study showed that as vitamin D levels rose, so did resistance to infection. However, the benefit appeared to plateau at about 38 ng/ml.
Of course, epidemiological studies of this nature cannot be used to prove causality (that is, that higher vitamin D levels protect against viral infection). They indicate only that the higher vitamin D levels are associated with improved resistance to infection.
However, the idea that vitamin D might actually help protect against infection is at least plausible, as the authors of the above study point out: Vitamin D has known effects on the immune system. The production of the antimicrobial peptides cathelicidin by macrophages and β-defensin by endothelial cells is upregulated by vitamin D. These peptides may be involved in the direct inactivation of viruses.
If it is true that optimizing vitamin D can help protect against infection, then this might have particular significance for the elderly, particularly those who are institutionalized.
A combination of low vitamin D, somewhat compromised immune function, and crowding could indeed be a lethal mix for some. Enhanced sunlight exposure or vitamin D supplementation could be a safe and inexpensive way of protecting against illness and preserving life.
Study of only 200 people, but observation may result in a wider study with larger sample and better access to relevant data. As noted, it doesn't imply causality, only possible correlation at this time and, if proved, at least a contributing factor.
So remember stay out of the sun (even though you need vitamin D). Don’t eat meat (even though you need the vitamins and protien). Don’t eat eggs (even though they turn out to increase good cholesterol). And don’t drink alcohol even though you live longer if you do.
IMO Vitamin D is the all around super supplement.....
I take 5,000 IU’s of D3 a day.......
I appreciate you posting this information.
It's almost as if human life is perfectly adapted to living under Earth's sun...
What other amazing surprises await us?
I take 4500IU a day too, with calcium to boot! The Target brand chocolate chews are awesome. Also supplement with Iron and B-12.
I’ve already seen the difference in my finger nails. They used to break all the time. Now, nice and strong. And after having the Oink flu last fall, I’m doing as much to get even healthier. Well, and of course the Dr. telling me I need more D and Calcium sorta prompted it. :)
Vit D again. ping
Ah, about time for the government to outlaw it.
You forgot moderate amounts of coffee and chocolate... which are also “bad” for you.
Notice that they didn’t tell you how much you had to take to get to the effective blood concentration. One still has to guess.
You are welcome. There is some more recent info on likely benefits of vitamin D3 here:
Chewable chocolate vitamins? I have got to get some of those! I hate swallowing pills so I’ve been neglectful in the vitamin department.
These sound awesome. Thanks for the great tip. :)
They are really good! Not as chalky as that famous brand my Dr’s office carries. It was her suggestion to try the Target brand. Even the pharmacist at Target recommended them. I take one with each meal. Its almost like a mini dessert. LOL.
True that: Coffee is the largest source of anti-oxidants in the average American’s diet.
There are good reasons for it: different people with different constitution (weight, height, age, hormonal and chemical balance and absorption and processing rate) means it would be different for almost everyone, i.e. some people may get to the suggested "minimum" or optimal number by taking the equivalent (e.g., from the combination of sun exposure, food or supplements) of 1,000IU per day, while others may need 5,000IU or more.
The most "generic" recommendation I've heard these days is daily equivalent of about 2,000IU (which is higher than "official" RDA), but trial and error with ramping up the dosage (if in the form of supplements) to reach recommended 38ng/ml+ should be done individually.
Actually, the lack of recommended intake dosage gives me more confidence that this study and reporting is real, and not just to push supplements, i.e. it recognizes individual differences of intake on blood concentration.
I’ve been avoiding Target like the plague as I can never get out of there without a cartload of stuff I never knew I ‘needed’. LOL
These little babies will get me there, though, with cash in my pocket and my debit card firmly ensconced in the kitchen drawer at home. :)
A recent important note about Vitamin D.
While it has long been known that a small number of people are sensitive to as little as 3,000 IU/day Vitamin D supplements, it has recently been discovered that a different small group of people have some indeterminate factor that limits their level of serum Vitamin D.
That is, they take supplements, but it doesn’t make it to their blood, as it should.
Unfortunately, this is brand new research, so there are a lot of unanswered questions. But guaranteed, there will be more research on this oddity.
Until then, there is a common blood test for serum Vitamin D, and there are enough variables so that it would be good to find out if you have too little, enough, or too much. If you want to know, ask your doctor.
>>Notice that they didnt tell you how much you had to take to get to the effective blood concentration. One still has to guess.<<
I got serious about supplementing with Vit D3 two years ago. By that I mean I started measuring my level in spring and fall. So far I’ve determined that I need about 5,000 IU per day in winter and about 1,000 IU in summer even though I’m outside quite a bit in summer. (In Wisconsin we don’t get enough sunshine from Oct to March to generate vit D3 and really should supplement.)
I would recommend that anyone taking it pick a target (mine is 50-70ng/ml) and measure just before winter starts to get a baseline, then supplement some in the winter if you live up north and measure again in April or early May to determine whether you maintained (if you started at a decent level) or increased (if you started with a pathetically low level, say 15 or 20 ng/ml.)
Then, if you’re outside in the summer, or live in the south, stop supplementing and measure D3 levels again in September to see if you maintained your April/May level, or increased or decreased. (I actually fell in summer, so I’m now still taking 1,000 IU in summertime to see where I end up in September.)
You can order your own test from a good private testing service for about $70 per test. They can be found on the website vitamind3council.org which is an excellent site for D3 info.
Testing spring and fall for two years, or even three, should give anyone a decent idea of how much they need to take to maintain a particular target level. Most people up north are way low. I also wrote a fair amount about this on my website at http://ontrackreading.com/the-diet-piece/vitamin-d3-questions/ It’s a reading website, but I ended up thinking that low levels of D3 might be implicated in reading problems as well so I wrote up some info for readers.
Doesn’t Vitamin D hurt the kidneys due to the calcium???
Would be the first I heard of it. Haven’t had any issues so far.
My grandparents were poor immigrants with 12 children. They all grew up healthy and lived to be old folks. Her secret? A tablespoon of cod liver oil (vitamin D) every day.
Especially,the “EXPERT” Michelle, GODZILLA, Obama!
Supposedly, it's the other way around. Vitamin D3 helps the body absorb calcium, instead of accumulating and/or excreting the excess of calcium which makes kidneys work harder... This is why many calcium supplements now come packaged together with vitamin D3.
Apparently, until relatively recently, small amount of cod liver oil was a staple taken with food in most of Central and Eastern Europe, especially in northern parts, as well as northern Asia, where sunlight “heat” is lower.
Thanks for the disclosure and sound advice.
I started taking vitamin D last winter. Really helped out in those dark Wisconsin winter days.
I recently read a book on loan from a friend, “The 50 biggest medical lies”. Already returned the book, but that’s close to what the title was.
Anyway, it confirmed things I knew to be true about the food nazis, who want us to eat what is bad, and not eat what is good for us.
For instance, -butter is good-margarine is crap.
-eggs are a wonder food, full of Omegas etc.
-meat is good for you.
-alcohol in moderation is good.
-what docs call high cholesterol is not really
high and not really bad, medical industry
just wants to sell drugs to lower it.
-the meal they don’t want you to eat, is just
what your body needs to be healthy.
-TOFU is crap. Orientals use fermented soy as
a seasoning, not tofu as a main food source.
Tofu eaten as a main part of the diet can
cause hormonal problems in males, and besides
it looks like GOO and probably tastes like
-Flouride is poison, it is a byproduct of
aluminum processing and needed to be used for
something, a study was funded to prove it
was good for something, and now it’s in
toothpaste and some water supplies.
It was written by an American doctor, who was tired of bucking the American system that pushes harmful drugs like the cholesterol drugs. He had many other docs who privately agreed with him but who would not publicly say things that contradicted the accepted medical opionions of the day.
We have many wonderful medical advantages here (pre-ObamaCare), however there are plenty of drugs out there that are worse than the thing they are treating.
>>My grandparents were poor immigrants with 12 children. They all grew up healthy and lived to be old folks. Her secret? A tablespoon of cod liver oil (vitamin D) every day.<<
Anyone supplementing with D3 who is considering using cod liver oil (including a lot of parents with autistic kids who supplement vitamin A aggressively) should definitely read Dr. Cannell’s comments on http://vitamindcouncil.org (I put the wrong website address in the earlier post, incidentally.)
He wrote a very important paper explaining the possible relationship between the escalating incidence of autism and the sun avoidance so popular over the past 20 years. But he also states that the Vitamin A in cod liver oil competes for the same sites as D3 and will prevent D3 supplementation from being effective. He advocates getting vitamin A from carotenoids (food) rather than the pre-formed retinols in cod liver oil, and he’s quite adamant about it.
I think article was pretty careful in stating that [deficiency of] vitamin D3 is just one factor that may explain prevalence of cold and flu seasons coinciding with the low intensity ("heat") of sun rays in winters. It doesn't make a claim that 100% of the people with sufficient sun exposure to get certain intake (believed to be about 10,000IU at 20 to 30 minutes of full body exposure to the summer sun) would get enough of Vitamin D3 synthesized in their bodies, and furthermore that it will guarantee to prevent all incidents of flu or colds.
Article states that the study, on average, identifies the deficiency of Vitamin D3 as a potential significant contributing factor in developing seasonal viral winter diseases. Individual factors affect that, including the fact that there is no certain dosage directly translating into the blood concentration level, which may be genetic or developed, like any metabolism process.
During this time we had a boat and we fished in the Gulf of Mexico every weekend all summer and we have the sun damage to prove it and the photos.
You may have inadvertently explained (diagnosed) what ailed you and your kids. Skin is the largest body organ and the first line of defense against viral diseases. If it was sunburned enough that it lost the protective capacity shield through which viruses enter your body (remember "washing hands is the best protection against the cold"?) you'd be more, not less, susceptible to be affected by cold and flu.
You will hear an echo in the discussions about these things on these threads:
Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome in Studies - FR / NIH, 2010 June 27
and Brain regulates cholesterol in blood, study suggests - FR / BBC, 2010 June 27
Monogamy works better for societies than a hook-up culture?
Homosexuality is unhealthy?
FReeping is good for you? Cheers!
Last time I was sick I had the german measles when I was 8.
“So remember stay out of the sun (even though you need vitamin D). Dont eat meat (even though you need the vitamins and protien).”
i’ve spent my life working in the sun and I demand meat at every meal!!
If it don’t bleed after cooking it ain’t fit to eat!!
Rare well marbled and aged beef is food, grass fed 4 legged barf bags aren’t food!!!
The break down of % daily value is:
One chew: 125% D, 50% K and 50% k. So after three chewables, I well surpass the recommended daily value.
I just got some lab results indicating almost zero Vitamin D levels. I was reading up on low Vitamin D just last night.
I agree with the spirit of your post. Disagree on grass fed beef. I like it. Cooked through, then eaten with a spicy sauce. Beans and biscuits, plenty of butter, on the side.
I’m strictly an organic chicken girl now. Bought some on a whim and can’t believe the difference. It cooks faster, is juicier and just tastes better.
I haven’t bought organic chicken at a supermarket. I’ve eaten a lot of what they now call free range chicken from a ranch (we used to call them . . . wait for it . . . “chicken”) and enjoyed them, but haven’t had them for years. Will have to give it a try. Where do you buy them?
I'll bookmark this thread and post the name when I buy some this weekend.
In the last few months I have cut out almost all processed foods ( never ate many anyway) I now eat 3 eggs everyday, plus more cheese, more meat and more whole milk. I have more energy, better remembery, and have lost those last stubborn 10 pounds. My cholesterol has also dropped below the 200 mark. I think that I have been lied to my entire adult life about food. I long ago added butter back into my diet. I have always exercised and struggled with my weight until the changes made above. How is that possible with all I have heard in the last 30 years about what I should eat to be healthy?
I never gave up coffee or chocolate in moderation though.
I’m with you. I don’t think they were lying though. I think it was the same foolish idea that they had with baby formula back in the 50’s and 60’s and 70’s. I think that big chunks of people actually think “scientists” can design a better food than God. Silliness, but the writers and editors and publishers and websites believe it . . . and the sellers want your money so their motives are at best mixed. Natural way is the best way. Amazing that your cholesterol dropped so much by eating delicious natural foods that many people view as unhealthy.
Thanks, rintense. I’ll look for them when I’m next in Target.