By Adam Pegg November 27, 2013
Tis’ the season of the pesky flu that can potentially ruin a whole week of your good health. There are a few well known ways to protect yourself from this nuisance, like washing your hands, getting vaccinated, and getting sleep. Now let’s take it a step further. I wrote this article so that you can learn how to fight the flu with nature’s secret weapon, vitamin D.
Vitamin D is most commonly known for it’s ability to help the body absorb calcium and build strong bones. That’s why most of the milk supply in the United States is fortified with it.
A lesser known fact is that vitamin D helps to activate the immune system. Without enough vitamin D intake, the T-cells, which play an important role in dismantling foreign invaders, are left dormant.
So Where Do I Get This Stuff?
Well, it’s really as simple as walking outside for 10 minutes with a descent amount of skin showing. Your body can create its own vitamin D, but it must be activated by contact with the sun for that to happen.
Being exposed to the midday summer sun for about 10 minutes has been recorded to produce up to 10,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D in the body. That might be a slight incentive to workout outside a couple days a week, and wait a few minutes to lather up with sunscreen……but I just realized, there’s one convenient problem (as with just about everything in life).
Flu season is in the fall/winter. Unless you’re living in the wonderful sunny state of Florida, finding quality vitamin D producing sunlight will probably be hard to come by. In a lot of places up north it would probably be pretty uncomfortable to walk around with a T-shirt and shorts on!
The solution is to get vitamin D through your diet. An Australian study over two years discovered that people who took 2,000 IU of a vitamin D supplement decreased their chances of getting sick.
You can get vitamin D supplements at many grocery stores and pharmacies. It also comes in natural foods like fatty fishes, so make sure you eat up!