How Vitamin D Changed Our Lives During Cold and Flu Season

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Everyone knows how many colds and flus are passed around during the winter months. It’s mind blowing how many bugs kids pass around. In our family we had a problem with sickness every winter for years. My oldest daughter and I also suffered from major fatigue in the winter: a common problem for many.

When we started using Vitamin D daily, three years ago, we saw a major shift in the amount of sickness we had in our family. My dad suggested it because he had chronic bronchitis all his life. Since adding vitamin D to his daily routine, he hasn’t had any bronchitis in over 5 years. That’s big stuff, since he used to get it every year at least once! We also have had much less illness since adding vitamin D to our daily routine. We give our 6 year old 1000 IUs in the morning, our 11 year old uses 3000 IUs and the rest of us use 4000 IUs a day. It’s best taken in the morning because it can give you energy. An added bonus! That’s why it helps with winter fatigue.

An article by Dr. Mercola states that “a study done in Japan, for example, showed that schoolchildren taking 1,200 units of vitamin D per day during the winter time reduced their risk of getting influenza A infection by about 40 percent. I believe it’s far more prudent, safer, less expensive, and most importantly, far more effective to optimize your vitamin D levels than to get vaccinated against the flu.”

Researchers have pointed out that increasing levels of vitamin D3 among the general population could prevent chronic diseases that claim nearly one million lives throughout the world each year. Incidence of several types of cancer could also be slashed in half.

Vitamin D also fights infections, including colds and the flu, as it regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. Click here for the full article.

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Our favorite winter remedy for getting enough vitamin D is Bluebonnet’s liquid Vitamin D3.

Here’s an excerpt from an article about why people get more colds and flu in the winter. Click here for the full article.
There are over 200 different strains of “cold” viruses, mainly made up of rhinoviruses (up to 50%). The average adult in the US will get 2-4 colds per year. The average child will get 6-8. These types of viruses usually are associated with mild symptoms. Up to 25% of infected people won’t show any symptoms at all. Most won’t get a fever, and if you do, it will be low-grade- around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Your Runny nose (thus rhinovirus) and cough will tend to be mild. These viruses primarily won’t transmit through the air. Instead, people become infected by coming into direct contact with someone who has an infection, or touch something that an infected person touches.

Influenza, however, is a much more sinister beast, affecting approximately 10% of the US population every year. This virus tends to start with sudden onset of a higher fever between 100-104 degrees Fahrenheit. It then progresses into chills, headache, muscle aches and a loss of appetite. Flu’s can also lead to more serious conditions like bronchitis and pneumonia. Those whose immune systems might be compromised, like the elderly or chronically ill, are at risk of death. Approximately 20,000 people a year die from the flu, so maybe mom was right. You will catch your death!

So why the increase in these illnesses in the winter? It seems this knowledge has been around for many centuries. The word influenza comes from an older Italian phrase “influenza di freddo” or “influence of the cold”. The flu-season usually ranges from November to March in the northern hemisphere (the coldest months) and May to September in the lower. In fact, in tropical climates, there tends to be extremely low incidences of flu and certainly no true “flu season”.

There are several contributing factors to why cold temperatures increase influenza infection rates, all of which seem to be well known and promoted by health officials in numerous publications. The most common is that people tend to stay indoors when the temperatures get colder. This allows people to be in closer contact with each other and therefore makes it easier to pass the virus from person to person. Another contributing factor could be that in large parts of the country children are going back to school and interacting more with their fellow infected. In fact, most epidemics can be traced back to children.

The answer to this riddle lies in how the influenza virus reacts to temperature and humidity. The virus is extremely stable in colder temperatures, 41 degrees Fahrenheit optimally. The warmer you go, the less stable it becomes. Around 86 degrees, the virus isn’t transmitted at all.

Humidity also plays a very important role. Influenza is primarily transmitted on the droplets from your respiratory tract (cover your mouth when you cough kids!) The more humid the environment, the more water is available for those droplets to “pick up”. The heavier the droplets become, the faster they will fall to the ground and out of the way of our mucus membranes. In drier environments, those death droplets hang around in the air longer for others to breathe in. In fact, one study showed that the virus was best transmitted at a humidity of 20% and not transmitted at all once the humidity reached 80%. (And you thought moving to more tropical climates when you get old and sick was just a bunch of voodoo medicine!)

So, get your family into the routine of taking Vitamin D in the winter and see how many doctor visits you don’t have!

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