One of the best, most little-known ways staving off flu symptoms is taking a Vitamin D supplement. Vitamin C has kept the reputation for fighting symptoms of the flu, but this isn’t backed up by scientific evidence. Vitamin D, on the other hand, has a whole slew of studies backing its power as a flu symptom fighting supplement, in part because the vast majority of us have Vitamin D deficiency.
People who are Vitamin D deficient are absent from work due to more cases of the flu. One study, which claims to disprove the efficacy of Vitamin D as fighting flu symptoms, compared a group of people with normal Vitamin D levels to a group that took a Vitamin D supplement – but since the efficacy of Vitamin D at warding off flu symptoms stems from the fact that most of us are Vitamin D deficient, this study can’t claim to disprove Vitamin D’s flu-fighting power.
How does Vitamin D work to fight flu symptoms?
Vitamin D is critical to cell repair and function, and that includes your cell’s ability to produce macrophages to ingest flu-causing bacteria. Your body produces Vitamin D naturally through sun exposure on the skin. If you spend most of your time indoors or don’t get much sunlight during the wintertime flu season, getting enough Vitamin D should be a concern for you.
Can Vitamin D cure the flu?
The bad news is, once you have the flu, there’s no magical way to cure it right away. You can, however, fight flu symptoms and Vitamin D deficiency by taking 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D through a supplement daily.
How do I know if I’m getting enough Vitamin D?
Unless your skin is exposed in sunlight for 4+ hours each day, your body is not able to synthesize enough VitaminD on its own. Exposed skin is referred to as trunk exposure, and is defined as not wearing clothing from the waist up; something that does not happen often in our society and especially not in the colder climates. Considering this, it makes sense that 75% of teenagers and adults are Vitamin D deficient, you very likely are not getting enough Vitamin D on your own.
I take a multi-vitamin, so I’m getting enough Vitamin D, right?
If you’re taking a multivitamin, you probably aren’t getting enough VitaminD either. Most multivitamins and Vitamin supplements contain 1,000 IUs of VitaminD. Just to maintain the body’s normal VitaminD levels, it needs to synthesize 4,000 IUs of Vitamin D (which it very likely can’t unless you live in the Canary Islands and spend most of your waking hours outdoors, absorbing sunlight through your skin).
How much should I take?
This is why I recommend to my patients that they take 5,000 IUs of Vitamin D daily. Slowly, but surely, others are catching on to VitaminD as a wonder supplement as well – The American Academy of Pediatrics doubled its recommendation of VitaminD intake for children, even though they’re still off the mark, recommending only 400 IUs per day. For children, 1000 IUs per 25 pounds of weight is the recommended dosage.
The impact of VitaminD deficiency might extend beyond just flu symptoms as well. Researchers are investigating the link between Vitamin D deficiency and Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin D also plays a critical role in tooth and gum health. Since VitaminD is readily available in most supermarkets and the risk of VitaminD deficiency is as high as it is, this one’s a no-brainer: Take a VitaminD supplement daily.
Blog Notes: About Mark Burhenne DDS
The mouth doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is intimately connected to the health of the rest of the body.
In fact, the bacteria and entire environment inside the mouth are connected to the rest of your body so intimately that the state of your oral health can predict whether you’ll have heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.
In my 30 years of practice as a dentist, I’ve seen a lot of misinformation and people who have fallen through the cracks due to our healthcare system’s failure to understand the oral-body connection.
I created this blog to empower people to understand how your mouth is a window into the health of the rest of your body.
It is my sincere hope that the knowledge and tools on this blog will lead to greater health and well-being for you and those you love.
Throughout this website you’ll find high-quality articles and free resources for getting and staying healthy. It’s the info I use to keep myself and my family healthy, and how I treat my patients.
More About Mark Burhenne DDS
I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.S. in Biochemistry and B.A. in History of Art and had the privilege of attending the University of the Pacific Dugoni School of Dentistry in San Francisco, consistently ranked among the best in the US.
I am an active member of several continuing education groups and study clubs in prosthetics and periodontology that perform actual clinical work on patients. I have worked as an expert witness in legal dental cases. I’ve also volunteered as a dental surgeon in Jos, Nigeria.
I raised three daughters without cavities (all without ingestion of fluoride). I enjoy downhill skiing, alpine touring, mountain biking, photography, and listening to jazz and classical records (you know, those flat analog 12-inch vinyl discs).
I am passionate about restoring teeth to their original function and beauty – and as someone who studied art history and is a hobbyist photographer, the intersection of art and the opportunity to help people makes dentistry my dream profession.
Ask the Dentist is for you, so I want to know, what would you like answered on Ask the Dentist?
Mark Burhenne DDS