I believe optimizing our Vitamin D blood levels is one of the best things we can do to protect ourselves from the Swine Flu.Vitamin D has a powerful effect on the immune system. Its sufficiency has been shown to increase the body's natural supply of what are called "Antimicrobial Peptides" ( AMP's). These are small fragments of amino acids, the building blocks of protein, that have very beneficial effects on the immune system's ability to fight against several types of germs including viruses and bacteria.
Many people ask me "Can't I get enough vitamin D from my food?" The short answer is that food does not contain much vitamin D. One serving of cooked salmon which is one of the foods highest in D has only 360 IU of vitamin D. This is enough to prevent rickets but with our new knowledge that higher doses of vitamin D are safe and help protect us from many of the chronic diseases of modern society including influenza, we all require higher doses. In order to get 2000 IU per day from food you would need to eat 6 servings of salmon, or 10 servings of tuna, or drink 20 glasses of fortified milk every day.
Other people ask me "Can't I get vitamin D from the sun?" The short answer is "Yes if you don't wear sunblock!" But sunblock with a SPF of 15 also blocks 99% of all the vitamin D making rays of the sun. In addition we have the problem of what is called "The vitamin D winter". If you live above the 35th parallel of latitude and that stretches from Memphis Tennessee to Oklahoma City to Santa Fe New Mexico to Bakersfield California, from approximately November through March even on a random winter's sunny day, you cannot get vitamin D from the sun if you go out in your bathing suit. This is because the angle of the sun prevents the right frequency of UV light needed by our skin to make vitamin D.Evidence strongly suggests that a level above 85 nmol/L is highly protective against osteoporosis, cancer, multiple sclerosis and various infectious processes. Vitamin D toxicity is a concern only when blood levels of vitamin D rise above 200 nmol/L. Recent research indicates that supplementation with 1,400 IU of vitamin D per day appears to be sufficient to raise vitamin D level to the 85 nmol/L level in most patients. And at the first sign of flu-like symptoms, one expert - based on personal experience and that of family members - suggests supplementing with 2,000 IU of vitamin D per kilogram of body weight for three consecutive days.
Anyone who's suffered through the flu knows that it's not only
potentially dangerous; it can be downright miserable. Ask your doctor to
assess your current vitamin D status and discuss the value of vitamin D
supplementation, particularly during the flu season.
Whatever your strategy, it won't eliminate your risk altogether, but why not do everything you can do naturally to protect yourself and your loved ones?
Posted by Allison Hebert. Posted In : Nutrition