Natural Flu Remedies And Vitamin C
Vitamin D is considered to be one of the best natural flu remedies because it boosts the immune system.
Most health practitioners would still recommend the flu vaccine... but would support an increased vitamin D dosage as part of a flu prevention strategy.
Experts widely agree that Vitamin D is invaluable at boosting the immune system and acts as one of the natural flu remedies.
But studies in both the United States and Canada have shown that over 80% of the population is vitamin D deficient in the winter when radiation from the sun is too weak for our skin to produce Vitamin D.
Is it just a coincidence that the flu season arrives in the winter when our immune system is weak? Many experts believe not.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SAY?
While there is widespread agreement that vitamin D affects our immune system, there is also research that suggests vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of getting the flu.
Research about H1N1 has found that the groups most affected by the flu are those most likely to be vitamin D deficient: pregnant women, obese people, those with Type II diabetes and children with neurological disorders.
Many of the deaths associated with the HINI virus have been pneumonia related, which is also exacerbated by a weak immune system.
HOW MUCH VITAMIN D DO WE NEED?
The skin produces approximately 10,000 IU vitamin D in response to 20–30 minutes of sun exposure in the summer. People who get consistent exposure to sunlight south of the 42nd latitude (Boston city) may not need vitamin D supplements.
But for those who live in northern regions and are seeking natural flu remedies, the vitamin D dosage may need to be increased depending on the following factors:
The skin's ability to produce vitamin D decreases with age, putting men and women over the age of 50 at increased risk.
Fat cells can extract vitamin D from the blood. People with a body mass index of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D.
People north of the 42 latitude (Boston) cannot get enough vitamin D during the late fall and winter.
People with dark skin pigmentation may need 20 - 30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people to generate sufficient vitamin D.
Even weak sunscreens (SPF=8) block our body's ability to generate vitamin D by 95%.
Some medical conditions such as Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease affect the intestine’s ability to absorb vitamin D and may cause vitamin D deficiency.
The Vitamin D Council suggests that people living north of the 32 latitude (as compared to the 42 latitude identified by other researchers) may consider the following program to maintain optimal blood levels:
- Late Fall and Winter: 5,000 IU
- Early Fall and Spring: 2,000 IU
- Summer: regular sunbathing may be sufficient
HOW DO WE KNOW IF WE ARE GETTING ENOUGH?
The best way to ensure we are getting enough vitamin D is to check our blood levels through a regular 25(OH) D blood test.
Unfortunately, the range that is considered acceptable is large and your doctor may say that your Vitamin D level is fine when it really is not optimal for preventing infection. So what is the optimal range?
Many vitamin D researchers recommend a blood level of 40-60 ng/ml. The Vitamin D Council recommends maintaining 25(OH)D blood levels at 50–80 ng/ml both in the summer and winter.
For many people, vitamin supplements of 2,000-5,000 IU daily will help them to reach and maintain these recommended blood levels.
Rather than relying exclusively on vaccines for preventing the flu, strengthening the immune system by raising the vitamin D dosage can be one of the most effective natural flu remedies.
The informed public can do this independently and at a modest cost with supplements. But monitoring blood levels in partnership with our health practitioner is the preferred approach for adding vitamin D to our list of natural flu remedies.