The 'sunshine vitamin' may be just what the doctor needs to order when it comes to preventing the flu's complications according to the founder of Sunlight, Nutrition and Health Research Center, Dr. William Grant.
Grant is not claiming that soaking up vitamin D will prevent the flu but he does believe that it will lower your risk from the complications.
It is known that vitamin D boosts the body's immune system. The groups who are most at risk from the affects of the flu virus also are more likely to be vitamin D deficient.
This information is important for those who live in northern climates like Canada. It is estimated that 97 percent of Canadians deal with vitamin D deficiencies during the long winter months. During 4 to 6 months a year the sunlight is too weak for most Canadians to obtain proper vitamins from the Sun.
Digital Journal spoke with Reinhold Vieth, Ph.D., Professor, Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and Nutritional Sciences of Mount Sinai Hospital about Vitamin D and swine flu.
"The idea of vitamin D lowering the risk of complications from swine flu is correct. That said, there is no proof of this. There is a chance that vitamin D could maybe help prevent the severity of the bacterial illnesses that are a complication of influenza. Take your flu shot."
Vieth said that vitamin D shows promise of helping to fight off bacterial diseases. This promise though is still in the lab and not proven in clinical trials.
"It's wise to keep up your level of vitamin D. It is reasonable to think that the vitamin could ease the risk. But, the flu is a virus. The complications of the flu are generally bacterial. Do not rely on vitamin D to prevent the flu."