Sunshine Vitamin D, Reduces Common Cold

If you’re reading this, I’ve probably given this link to you, as a friend, after talking about the huge importance of getting enough Vitamin D.  This is the first of many Vitamin D – related posts.

Natural sunshine is the best way to get optimal Vitamin D.
Natural sunshine is the best way to get optimal Vitamin D.

Vitamin D Deficiency – Don’t get the common cold!

The common cold, perhaps the most complained about “disease” in all of humanity.  You can bet that modern day office worker has more colds than a paleolithic outdoors man did.  In fact, if you can avoid a Vitamin D deficiency (and most people are deficient), one study shows that you reduce the number of colds you get in a year by 70%.  So, if you normally get 10 colds per year, you could possibly only get 3 with proper Vitamin D levels. [1]

My experience in the first year of supplementing with Vitamin D confirmed this statistic for me.  I did get 10 colds per year and I hated it (feeling bad, lost productivity, lost fun with the kids, etc).  But, a year later I realized that I had had drastically fewer colds that year.  And the couple colds that I did get only felt like they lasted a few days rather than a miserable 2-3 weeks.  In the years since then, I have continued optimizing my Vitamin D levels and have continued having this drastically lower rate of colds.

Another study shows that the risk of respiratory infections goes up drastically as your levels of Vitamin D go down.  At levels below 10ng/ml 24% of subjects reported a recent respiratory infection, whereas only 17% of respondents with levels 30ng/ml reported recent respiratory infections.  That is a 41% increase in risk of respiratory infection if you are low on Vitamin D [2].

Vitamin D Deficiencies Suspected Causing Respiratory Infections in Children

Children benefit from proper Vitamin D levels too.  An Indian study shows that children under the age of 5 are more than 3x as likely to get a respiratory infection when their Vitamin D levels are lower than 22.5 nmol/l versus above the same level [3].

I agree with Dr. Mercola (his newsletter) that good amounts of Vitamin D across the population are more powerful and more safe in fighting the flu than the flu shots are.

Are you Vitamin D Deficient?

Ok, so how many people are vitamin d deficient and how do I know if I am?  42% of adolescents according to one study [4], and many more depending on who you ask and at what level is considered “deficient.”  This study considered anyone with levels below 20ng/ml to be Vitamin D deficient.  Many others would suggest that you need 50ng/ml for optimal health and reducing colds.  This post (blog post not released yet) shows who is deficient and by how much, but for now, go get your Vitamin D levels tested by your physician.

Sources of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is best obtained from natural sunlight.  How much sunlight is enough is debatable and will be handled in another post.  sunbathe

A caveman would be out in the sun every day looking for food doing his hunting and gathering.  Where do you spend most of your time?  In a cubicle/office?  Indoors at home?  You are likely Vitamin D deficient.

Supplementation, may be next best thing to natural sunlight.  Read (blog post not released yet) for more sources of Vitamin D.

Conclusion: Vitamin D deficiency could dramatically increase the number of colds your family gets this season.


Sunrise image above: / CC BY 2.0
Sunbathing image above: / CC BY 2.0


[2] Association between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level and upper respiratory tract infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Aug 10;169(15):1443.

[3] Wayse V, Yousafzai A, Mogale K, Filteau S. Association of subclinical vitamin D deficiency with severe acute lower respiratory infection in Indian children under 5 y. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Apr;58(4):563-7.

[4] Prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency Among Healthy Adolescents. Catherine M. Gordon, MD, MSc; Kerrin C. DePeter, BA; Henry A. Feldman, PhD; Estherann Grace, MD; S. Jean Emans, MD. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2004;158:531-537.

One thought on “Sunshine Vitamin D, Reduces Common Cold

  • September 7, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    sun may be dangerous, I think the best source is fish

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