‘Vi­ta­min D the key to be­ing cold free’

Evening Telegraph (First Edition) - - Uk World Today -

MORE than three mil­lion peo­ple in the UK could stave off in­fec­tions such as colds or flu every year if ev­ery­one took Vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ments, ex­perts have said.

A new study has found that tak­ing the sup­ple­ments pro­tects against acute res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions.

Vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ments have been a hot topic in med­i­cal cir­cles in re­cent years with some ex­perts ar­gu­ing that their use­ful­ness re­mains un­cer­tain.

But health of­fi­cials say that vi­ta­min D is vi­tal for bone and mus­cle health.

Last year, health ex­perts said peo­ple were gen­er­ally not get­ting the rec­om­mended 10 mi­cro­grams of vi­ta­min D a day from sun­light in winter.

A new study pub­lished in The Bri­tish Med­i­cal Jour­nal sug­gests that tak­ing vi­ta­min D — also known as the sun­shine vi­ta­min — may have ben­e­fits be­yond bone and mus­cle health and pro­tects against acute res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions.

Re­sults of the study fit with the ob­ser­va­tion that colds and flu are most com­mon dur­ing winter and spring, when lev­els of vi­ta­min D are at their low­est. Res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tions are any in­fec­tion of the si­nuses, throat, air­ways or lungs and can last up to 30 days.

The com­mon cold is the most wide­spread res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tion; oth­ers in­clude ear in­fec­tions, bron­chi­tis and pneu­mo­nia. At least 70% of the pop­u­la­tion gets at least one acute res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion every year. And about a quar­ter of the UK pop­u­la­tion will visit the GP each year to get treat­ment.

Acute res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions lead to 300,000 hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions and 35,000 deaths across the UK every year.

The new re­search, led by aca­demics from Queen Mary Uni­ver­sity of Lon­don (QMUL), an­a­lysed data from 11,000 par­tic­i­pants aged up to 95 who took part in 25 clin­i­cal tri­als con­ducted in 14 coun­tries.

The study con­cluded sup­ple­ments can help pre­vent acute res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tions, par­tic­u­larly among those who are de­fi­cient in vi­ta­min D. Af­ter ad­just­ing for other po­ten­tially in­flu­en­tial fac­tors, the re­searchers found vi­ta­min D sup­ple­men­ta­tion cut the pro­por­tion of par­tic­i­pants ex­pe­ri­enc­ing at least one acute res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tion by 12%.

Lead re­searcher Pro­fes­sor Adrian Martineau, from QMUL, said: “As­sum­ing a UK pop­u­la­tion of 65 mil­lion, and that 70% have at least one acute res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion each year, then daily or weekly vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ments will mean 3.25 mil­lion fewer peo­ple would get at least one acute res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion a year.”

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