Vitamin D Supplements Could Help Stave Off Infections
If you pick up infections easily, the idea of contracting a respiratory tract infection can be quite worrying because of its effect on your ability to breathe. But there is good news, as researchers from the Karolinska Institute and Karolinska University Hospital have announced that high doses of vitamin D can help reduce the likelihood of respiratory tract infections in patients who are already prone to infections.
Vitamin D is known as a steroid vitamin. Its primary function is that it allows the body to absorb important nutrients such as calcium and phosphorous. You can usually receive all your vitamin D requirements from natural sunlight or from the food you eat. For most people vitamin D supplements are not necessary as they get enough of it from going outside in the sun.
However, for people who live in parts of the world where sunlight is limited, daily doses of vitamin D can be somewhat more difficult to come by. In the winter months in Scandinavia, vitamin D deficiency is a major health issue affecting the wellbeing of thousands of people. This deficiency makes people more vulnerable to infections.
The researchers looked at 140 patients who had symptoms of respiratory tract infections. They were then divided into two groups. The first group was given a vitamin D supplement daily, while the second was given a placebo. The result showed that patients who took the supplement showed a 25% drop in respiratory tract infection symptoms.
But it wasn’t just a decrease in symptoms that the researchers found. One of the main advantages of the vitamin D supplement is that it will reduce the need for patients to use antibiotics to counteract their infections. Patients in the study who took the supplement reduce their intake of antibiotics by half.
There is evidence that suggests that the supplement is only effective in people who already had below the recommended level of vitamin D in their blood. This means that it would make sense to check the vitamin D levels of all patients with respiratory tract infections.