Vitamin D is known to promote bone health, especially in children and menopausal woman, but a new study has found it also boosts the immune system.
The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine has gathered evidence that people with the lowest levels of vitamin D in their blood are the most likely to catch colds, according to Ottawa Citizen.
A team of researchers from the University of Colorado at Denver and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston analyzed blood samples from 19,000 U.S. adults who also underwent physical exams.
They found that those with the lowest vitamin D blood levels – under 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood – were 40 percent more likely to report recent colds or flu than those with vitamin D levels above 30 nanograms.
The study comes on the heels of another report which has found that the average blood levels of vitamin D appear to have decreased in the U.S. between 1994 and 2004.
For that reason, the scientists who conducted the study recommend an intake of 1,000 IUD or more of vitamin D, particularly during the winter months and at higher latitudes, which may improve the overall health of the U.S. population.
The richest sources of vitamin D include milk, certain types of fish and exposure to sunshine. It can also be obtained from dietary supplements.