To improve health and ease drowsy coughs during winter time, you’ll find that some sources, including physicians, advise that you add supplements to your diet in order to boost your immune system. A team of researchers report, however, after performing a randomized study that taking vitamin D, calcium or both altogether doesn’t offer any significant respiratory improvement.

Neither vitamin D3 or calcium were found to aid respiratory illnesses. Photo credit: my.opera.com

Neither vitamin D3 or calcium were found to aid respiratory illnesses. Photo credit: my.opera.com

The scientists sought to see if there was any connection between taking vitamin D   and upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). In order to become relevant, the researchers chose to survey 2259 trial participants, of general health,  aged 45–75 who were administered  vitamin D3 (1000 IU/day), calcium (1200 mg/day), both, or placebo. Of these, 759 participants completed daily symptom diaries throughout the duration of the four-year long study.

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During winters, those who took vitamin D experienced on average 1.8 days of respiratory-related illness, versus  1.6 days among the placebo group, an insignificant difference by the authors’ account. Regarding the calcium supplements, there was no observable difference  either. It was not associated with the incidence, duration or severity of symptoms, and was equally ineffective when taken with vitamin D.

“Of course there are observational studies that show that vitamin D has various benefits,” said the lead author, Judy R. Rees, an assistant professor of community and family medicine at Dartmouth. “But those studies can’t eliminate the effects of lifestyle from causing bias. A randomized trial is designed to avoid those problems, and that’s what I think we did.”

These results were reported in a paper published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases,

Alright, so it’s not the best news for those already having to deal with mid-winter coughs. Here are some tips you may want to consider though: stay well hydrated (8 glasses of water per day), be sure to get plenty of sunlight exposure (I know it’s cold outside, but at least be sure to keep your window shutters open), avoid eating sugary foods as much as possible, add honey and lemon to a glass of water and sip throughout the day and, of course, be sure to consult with your local physician.

 

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