London [UK], Feb. 17 : Consume a healthy dose of vitamin D supplements during winters, as a study finds that taking them may protect you from acute respiratory infections and flu.
The study, published in The BMJ, suggests that taking vitamin D - also known as the sunshine vitamin - may have benefits beyond bone and muscle health and protects against acute respiratory infections.
Researchers from Queen Mary University of London found that vitamin D supplementation cut the proportion of participants experiencing at least one acute respiratory tract infection by 12 percent, reports the Mirror.
"The bottom line is that the protective effects of vitamin D supplementation are strongest in those who have the lowest vitamin D levels and when supplementation is given daily or weekly rather than in more widely spaced doses," said lead researcher Adrian Martineau.
Respiratory tract infections are infection of the sinuses, throat, airways or lungs and can last up to 30 days.
They analyzed the data from almost 11,000 participants aged up to 95, who took part in 25 clinical trials.
The findings indicated that that supplements can help to prevent acute respiratory tract infections, particularly among those who are deficient in vitamin D.
After adjusting for other potentially influential factors, the team found that vitamin D supplementation cut the proportion of the participants experiencing at least one acute respiratory tract infection by 1 percent.
The results fit with the observation that colds and flu are most common during winter and spring, when levels of vitamin D are at their lowest.
"The evidence on vitamin D and infection is inconsistent and this study does not provide sufficient evidence to support recommending vitamin D for reducing the risk of respiratory tract infections," Martineau explained.