We Are Sunshine

Canadians to study Vitamin D, influenza link

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Canada’s Public Health Agency has commissioned a new study into the link between vitamin D and flu in senior citizens, attempting to solidify work that suggests a lack of “The Sunshine Vitamin” makes one more susceptible to the flu.

Canada’s National Post reported the announcement Tuesday. “The agency has expedited contracting out of the research, saying in documents that it is ‘vital’ to get working on it this flu season, since the results could lead to public-health recommendations on Vitamin D intake,” The Post reported.

2008-03-05-achoo-tanningnews-copy.jpgAccording to the Post, “The agency has contracted scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto to conduct a pilot study of 200 senior citizens this flu season, leading to a larger project later. It will look both at whether a deficiency in Vitamin D levels makes seniors more susceptible to the flu, and whether patients’ genetic makeup affects the seriousness of flu infections.”

The Post continued, “Scientists have long wondered why influenza is so much more common during winter months, with theories ranging from the effects of colder temperatures, to the close proximity of people as they spend more time indoors. Another hypothesis points to the fact that vitamin D levels are lower in winter, when bodies absorb less of the sunlight that helps generate the nutrient. It is believed that the vitamin plays an important role in “innate” immunity, the body’s generic, hard-wired defences against infection.”

Several studies have already demonstrated that the flu may be retarded by healthy vitamin D levels.

To read the Post’s full story, click here.