We Are Sunshine

TODAY’S HEADLINE STORY: New study adds more evidence that ‘The Sunshine Vitamin’ helps prevent the flu.

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Higher vitamin D levels are associated with lower risk of respiratory infections, according to the largest study ever conducted on this topic — adding to the weight of evidence connecting ‘The Sunshine Vitamin’ with prevention of flu and the common cold.

2009-02-24-forget-the-apple-copy.jpg“Forget the apple. The largest study of its kind to date shows that vitamin D each and every day is what will keep the doctor away when it comes to the common cold or the flu,” US News & World Report published this week in a story on the study, which followed vitamin D levels and respiratory infection rates in 19,000 Americans. The study is published in Monday’s Archives of Internal Medicine.

“We don’t want to jump ahead of ourselves,” study author Dr. Adit Ginde, an assistant professor of surgery in the division of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, told US News. “But our study provides support that lower levels of vitamin D are associated with an increased risk for respiratory infections, such as the common cold and the flu. And people who have pre-existing respiratory disease — like asthma an emphysema — appear to be at an increased risk for this association.”

What’s good about the story: It’s one more piece in the puzzle showing that humans were intended to get much more vitamin D than we’re getting.

What could have been better about the story: US News missed the boat in reporting the relative strength of sunshine as a vitamin D source. “Vitamin D can be found in such foods as canned tuna, cereal and fortified milk or juice, according to the American Dietetic Association (ADA),” US News wrote. “The body can also be triggered to naturally produce vitamin D after adequate exposure to sunlight.”

Can also be triggered?

“Sunshine is the only true source of vitamin D — it’s ridiculous that it could be portrayed only as an also-ran source,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “A suntan makes 10,000 – 20,0000 units of vitamin D — an 8-ounce glass of whole milk makes just 100 units, and salmon makes 250 units unless you catch it fresh from the stream. It’s disappointing that US News and whoever they spoke to portrayed this incorrectly.”

To read the entire story click here.