If you’re among the tens of millions across the US loading up on Vitamin D in order to ward off the impending winter sniffles, you may well be fighting with the wrong weapon. According to the results of a new study into the commonly used supplement, Vitamin D does not in fact have any beneficial effects against the common cold, nor does it assist with the prevention of upper respiratory tract infections.
The beneficial properties of Vitamin D – or lack thereof – have been the subject of heated debate for quite some time. Extensive laboratory research projects appeared to show that an increase in the consumption of Vitamin D could lead to a strengthened immune system, while others studying individuals with lower Vitamin D levels found their subjects to be more prone to the contraction of URTIs.
However, the latest study which was published in the American Medical Association Journal this Tuesday has accused the previous studies of being badly controlled and therefore their results inconclusive, arguing that Vitamin D may not in fact aid the prevention of URTIs at all.
Based in New Zealand, the researchers set about trial whereby the results would shed accurate light on the benefits of otherwise of Vitamin D once and for all. While 161 people were given a measured dose of Vitamin D every month for 18 consecutive months, a further 161 were given placebos. The Vitamin D administered to the first group was of the same strength and quantity as that of previous studies where significant benefits were noted.
Over the course of the 18-month study, the group of individuals being given Vitamin D on a monthly basis reported a total of 593 episodes of URTIs, while those in individuals taking inactive placebos totaled 611 – far from enough to conclude any given benefit and almost entirely a matter of chance, according to the researchers. In terms of severe episodes, missed working days and other considerations, there were absolutely no differences between the two groups.
As such, using the same doses of Vitamin D as noted in previous study, a healthy adult’s resistance to the common cold showed zero signs of increase.
Following the publish of the study, its results have been assessed as credible and trustworthy by Dr. Jeffrey Linder of the Harvard Medical School, who furthered the report with an editorial.
In other health news, scientists have warned that ultraviolet tanning beds are responsible for up to 5.4% of all reported cases of malignant melanoma skin cancer in Europe – the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
In the UK alone, upwards of 13,000 people are diagnosed with the deadly form of skin cancer ever year, which is responsible for 2,200 annual fatalities.
New research from the US carried out on 9,000 cases of skin cancer has concluded that those who regularly use sunbeds are up to 30% more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma, which causes eight out of ten cases over skin cancer.
The study also found that those under the age of 25 are at the highest risk of developing the deadly condition.