Vitamin D Plays Cold-Fighting Role, Study Says

A new study by Massachusetts General Hospital says that not getting enough Vitamin D could increase your risk of coming down with a cold or the flu.

The researchers found that people with the lowest levels of Vitamin D had significantly more colds and flus. Rates of sickness were even higher among people who already had chronic respiratory problems, such as asthma and emphysema.

Adit Ginde, the study's lead author, says the findings challenge the popular belief that Vitamin C is best for fighting sickness.

"It does sort of go against people's common intuition or lay knowledge regarding these vitamins," says Ginde. "People think of Vitamin D for bone health and Vitamin C for respiratory infection, so it made for an interesting study."

Ginde says the best way to get Vitamin D is from moderate sunlight exposure.

The study, which looked at 19,000 adult and adolescent participants, appears in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers from Children's Hospital Boston and the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine helped author the report.

This program aired on February 23, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.