A new study appearing in The Archives of Internal Medicine indicates vitamin D may effectively prevent colds and flu. Study findings were based on an assessment of nutritional habits, vitamin D levels and respiratory infection rates among approximately 19,000 study participants.
The study, the largest of its kind to date, links lower levels of vitamin D with an increased risk for respiratory infections, such as the common cold and flu, according to study author Dr. Adit Ginde, assistant professor of surgery in the division of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine.
Individuals with low levels of vitamin D and pre-existing respiratory conditions, such as asthma and bronchitis, have an increased risk of developing colds and flu. Ginde’s research team examined data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988 to 1994.
Those participants with low levels of vitamin D, less than 10 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood, were 40 percent more likely to develop a respiratory infection than those with 30 nanograms or higher of vitamin D. Participants were an average age of 38, aged 12 and up, and completed physicals and health and nutritional surveys.
Relatively few people get enough of the five key vitamins necessary to prevent several chronic diseases. These include: Folate, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and vitamin E. A standard multivitamin supplement can often supply you with a partial amount of these vitamins.
Additional supplements such as vitamin C and vitamin E may be necessary to fulfill normal daily vitamin requirements. Both water soluble vitamins (vitamin C and B-complex vitamins) and fat soluble vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K) are considered essential for proper body function.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can effectively treat the common cold and flu without the use of over-the-counter medications, which can cause drowsiness and fatigue. Acupuncture can aid in prevention of worsening of the cold or flu if treated in its early stages.
For individuals who already have a cold or flu and have not received acupuncture earlier, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can strengthen the immune system and reduce symptom discomfort.
In traditional Chinese medicine theory, if qi (vital energy) is strong, pathogenic factors which cause the common cold and flu can be resisted. Acupuncture strengthens the immune system functioning by increasing humoral and cellular immunity. Chinese herbal formulas can aid in combating the viral infection.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are particularly effective for treating the common cold and flu preventively and are especially suited to individuals who catch colds and flu often. Chinese herbal formulas are used in a similar manner to conventional antibiotics, but do not cause the adverse side effects that allopathic medications often do.
When we have insufficient rest, poor diet or high stress, pathogens may become more effective in causing the common cold and flu. Acupuncture can improve the immune system’s defenses and combat these pathogens.
As a form of preventative medicine for the common cold and flu, be certain to get regular acupuncture maintenance treatments at the changing of the seasons and especially during the flu season.
For information about Acupuncture & Massage College’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs call Joe Calareso, Admissions Director, at (305) 595-9500. March 1.