Millions of people suffer from respiratory infections every year. Respiratory infections including coughs, flu, pneumonia and bronchitis are typically caused by virus or bacteria. In the United Kingdom alone, about 3.25 million people suffer from at least one type of respiratory infection per year. Most of these infections occur during the winter months when the weather is cold, wet and dreary.
Researchers believe there is a plausible explanation why people get such infection during the winter months. Studies have shown that the occurrence of respiratory infection may also be attributed to the lack of exposure to sunlight – the leading source of Vitamin D. For the body to function properly, you need to take in at most 10,000 IU per day. Unfortunately, sun exposure can be quite difficult during the winter months.
Epidemic of Respiratory Diseases During Winter Time
Experts believe that respiratory infections can be lessened if people add more vitamin D to their diets during the winter. In fact, this will not only prevent people from incurring diseases, but it will also help NHS cut down its costs.
However, in the UK alone, there is a huge deficiency of the sunshine vitamin. Researchers from the Queen Mary University advise against fortification as it can significantly change the cost of food. Fortification may be a good idea for people who show significantly low levels of serum vitamin D.
But instead of fortification, one of the best solutions to this problem is to encourage people to bolster their Vitamin D intake through food. The problem is that food sources that are rich in vitamin D are only limited to oily fishes and shitake mushrooms. While getting vitamin D from food is important, one of the best ways to get this nutrient is to spend some time under the heat of the sun. Other options for food companies is to add natural vitamin D to food from sources like shiitake mushrooms. NutriFusion developed a stand-alone Vitamin D2 and D3 for food manufacturers to add to a variety of food without impacting flavor or texture.
Benefits of Vitamin D Against Respiratory Infections
About 70% of the population in the United Kingdom suffer from respiratory infection every year. Regularly taking vitamin D can reduce the risk of respiratory infection by 10% and reduces the need to take prescription antibiotics.
The study conducted by the researchers from the Queen Mary University places profound importance on fortification, but some authors believe that fortification should only be given to people who are at risk of developing osteomalacia that is the weakening of the bones due to low levels of vitamin D.
How does vitamin D fight against respiratory infections? Vitamin D plays a significant role in boosting the immune system. If you look at the cells of the immune system closely, they have receptors for vitamin D. Once the vitamin D adheres to the receptors thus reducing the levels of cytokines–a type of inflammatory proteins and increasing the amount of anti-microbial proteins.
Whether people take vitamin D-fortified foods or just bask in the sun as much as they can, the truth is that vitamin D can make significant improvements to the immune system resulting in a lowered risk for respiratory diseases.
Inspired by www.theguardian.com/science