A team of from Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) has conducted a meta-analysis of 11,321 people from 25 different trials in a bid to answer a pervasive question; does vitamin D do anything to infection rates? Their answer is yes. The suggested application of this research is to fortify, which exactly aren’t clear, food stuffs in the UK with vitamin D.
We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight, anyone from the UK will know how infrequency blue sky can be on the island. Vitamin D is already taken to improve muscle and bone health, in the immune system vitamind D is made into antimicrobial weapons to puncture bacteria and viruses. Only small amounts are found in food, so for climates where sunlight disappears for long period supplements are increasing in popularity. Multivitamins are a shady area of science, corrupted by a lot of marketing schemes. Medicine is individual. Your body may have similarities to others but vitamin D is directly influenced by lifestyle; are you up late at night and inside all day for instance?
Properly analysing how people take vitamin D and how it works through the body takes time. Data analysis tools and artificial intelligence could be used to help map the effect of external systems on public health.Quantity and frequency of dose, severity and rate of infection were covered by the paper, publishe in the British Medical Journal. Examining those variables cuts through bad science designed to promote miracles.
“Assuming a UK population of 65 million, and that 70% have at least one acute respiratory infection each year, then daily or weekly vitamin D supplements will mean 3.25 million fewer people would get at least one acute respiratory infection a year.”
– Prof Adrian Martineau, QMUL
Weekly doses were found to be better than larger monthly doses. Overall the study found one person in every 33 taking vitamin D supplements would not be infected, flu vaccination requires 40 people to receive jabs to prevent one case. Though the difference in severity between flu and a common cold cannot be overstated.
Critical reception of the research emphasised the need for more work on the subject but the results have roundly been welcomed within academia and public health agencies. Implementing the research on a government mandated level many take some time in the UK, but individual level interest in multivitamins is likely to be boosted by this news.
Milk is already fortified with vitamin D in the United States. Products aimed at vegetarians and vegans are fortified with B12 and other minerals, how vitamin D will be delivered will depend on demand. Consumers may be concerned at adding steps to existing products and prefer supplements.