134 Executive Drive, Lafayette, IN 47905, 765-448-6489

By Dr. Doug Williams
February 29, 2016
Tags: Vitamin D   nutrition  

As much as I would like to believe that the winter is over, I am not quite sure that it is! Over the past few weeks, we have seen many of our patients suffer from flu or cold related issues. This prompted me to think of preventative steps we can take to reduce the risk of catching the flu or a cold in the first place.

Vitamin D has been around for a long time. Most of you have probably heard of Vitamin D, both with respect to helping bones stay strong and as an additive to milk. Recent science, however, has discovered that Vitamin D has a broader reach beyond our skeletal system.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2010 found a nearly 50% reduction in contracting Influenza A in school children that were taking Vitamin D3 (1200 IU). This is quite significant, considering that flu vaccines do not have a great track record in the first place.

The optimal way to maximize your Vitamin D levels is through sun exposure. However, even if you do manage to get away for a week in the spring to Florida, it is still unlikely that you are going to get enough Vitamin D in the winter living in the midwest, north of I-70.

The best way to determine your Vitamin D level is to do a Serum Blood Test, which your general practitioner would be able to help you with. An article published on WebMD indicates 4000 IU as an acceptable high end dosage for most people. According to an article published by Dr. Mercola, recent studies have indicated that adults may need as much as 8000 IU of Vitamin D per day to obtain optimal serum levels. Interestingly, this amount poses very little risk for Vitamin D detoxicity. Even higher levels of Vitamin D have been used for addressing health concerns, such as cancer and heart disease.

If you have a health condition that could be aggravated by increased calcium levels in your blood, talk with your medical doctor before using Vitamin D long-term (for example, lymphoma, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, to name a few).

At our practice, we recommend 1200 IU for kids and 2000-4000 IU for adults of Vitamin D daily between October and May. Vitamin D is not just for your bones anymore - it is a great way to enhance your immune system and prevent the flu!