Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Combatting the common cold with Vitamin D


I have found that the last few times I have felt like I might have a head cold coming on, I have taken extra Vitamin D in supplement form, and have succeeded in warding off the cold. But it still hasn’t been an automatic thought for me, and I had convinced myself that the cold I had avoided probably wasn’t one of those strong ones that are impossible to shake. Last month, my husband, daughter, parents, roommate, and nephew all had a nasty cold that held on for around 2 weeks.  Two and a half weeks ago I woke up on a Saturday morning with their symptoms, a scratchy throat, sneezing, and feeling drained of all energy. Oh no! I was going to get it now too. I just started working a new part time job and couldn’t afford to be sick. Like anyone can afford to be sick right? But I started to panic. I was supposed to go to my mom’s birthday party that afternoon, where many family members were just getting over this stuff. I went to the festivities but kept my distance from everyone. I didn’t want to give this to anyone else, and I’d feel awful if my mom had to battle another bout with it.  For some reason, the thought popped into my head that I should take extra Vitamin D.  I had read a few articles with differing opinions on whether or not Vitamin D helps relieve the common cold. I thought about it and realized that since I have started tanning, and increased my Vitamin D levels, I really haven’t had any colds. So it couldn’t hurt to try right? I went home and popped 50k IU of Vitamin D and took a nap. Rest ALWAYS helps a head cold. The next day I still felt a little yucky, but not as bad as Saturday, so I popped another 50k IU. I felt well enough to work a few hours that day and then another 50k on Monday and then around 30k IU on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Honestly, I never got the nasty cough or terrible sniffles that my family had. Wish I had thought of it BEFORE they all came down with it.  I really only had a few days of just not quite feeling 100%. I’ll take that over weeks of coughing my head off and sneezing my nose raw and having no energy.

While I am NOT certain the dosage of Vitamin D I took was actually 50k IU thanks to the recent studies showing the inaccuracies and inconsistencies of the supplements, (see my blog post from a few weeks ago) I do feel that simply increasing my Vitamin D intake from my normal routine contributed to my ability to fight off the cold. I gave extra Vitamin D to the family members that hadn’t completely recovered from the same cold, and they started to feel better too. Once they started to take the Vitamin D, it seemed the cold was cut a little shorter than those that had waited it out.

While it isn’t a scientific study by any stretch of the imagination, I think the results were significant enough to do the same thing the next time a cold threatens me. Although I do prefer to get my Vitamin D through UV exposure, I feel that given the circumstances, supplements worked well for my needs in this instance. Perhaps the next time I feel a cold coming on I will try going to a salon 2 or 3 times a week instead of just once to see what that would do. It could be hard to do it that way though based on the timing. For instance, I couldn’t have a regular tanning session on Sunday, then feel a cold come on Monday and go tan again. My salon would not allow me to tan back to back days because of my fair skin type. (Yet another great way they protect their clients from overexposure) Still, if the opportunity presents itself with the right timing I'm gonna go for it. I'll keep you posted!

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