A study led by Dr. Mitsuyoshi Urashima investigating the effectiveness of vitamin D at preventing influenza infection finds that supplementation with the "sunshine vitamin" is a superior preventative measure compared with vaccination.

A total of 334 children took part in the study.  The design was simple and strightforward: administer a vitamin D3 supplement of 1200 IUs to half of the group, a placebo to the other half, and control with randomization and double-blinds.  In the placebo group, 31 children contracted influenza, compared with 18 in the study group.  This amounts to an 8% reduction in infection during the 3-month course of the study; flu vaccines successfully reduce infection by only 1%.

With respect to the study's secondary measure, the trial also shows a significant reduction in asthma attacks in previously diagnosed children who were taking the vitamin D3 (2 cases) compared with those who were not (12 cases).

This report is very telling, and it's relevance immediate.  As winter and "flu season" approaches, long hours spent in the sun simultaneously decline — and therefore so does natural vitamin D production highlighting the question of whether or not to get vaccinated.

Although this finding is not definitive in its results, its implications certainly attest to the body's natural ability to heal — to make whole — and perhaps also hints at the dangers of relying exclusively on the application of external preventative measures, like vaccinations, but also on the kind of thinking that binds us to limited courses of actions when the remedy may very well be right here, humbly, inside our own bodies.



Image "Gripe" by Daquella manera on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.