Vitamin D and Flu Prevention

I have mentioned the importance of vitamin D numerous times for prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer and mood disorders.  Now vitamin D is being brought into the spotlight for prevention of influenza, both the seasonal and H1N1 strains.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is looking into Vitamin D and H1N1 flu prevention.  Also, hot off the press, is a 2009 systematic review of randomized controlled trials that found strong evidence supporting vitamin D as both a treatment and preventive for tuberculosis, influenza, and viral upper respiratory tract illnesses.

We are recommending Vitamin D testing for all patients.  If levels are lower than the optimal 60-80 ng/dl, we are recommending supplementation of 5000iu of vitamin D in adults for the duration of the flu season.  Keep in mind that it is also important to get 1000-1200mg of Calcium per day (from diet or from a supplement) if taking this higher dose of Vitamin D for a long duration.

Childhood guidelines are similar for patients that have been tested.  If a child has not been tested, we are recommending a minimum of 2000iu/ day.  For toddlers and infants under two years old, check with your doctor.

Posted by: LeighAnn