By Kennedy Shelley
It is possible to get the flu in the summer, but we often don’t.
The common narrative is “we are all cooped up together in the winter, so it spreads.” But don’t we all huddle around the air conditioner during the summer?
What if there was something else at work? Say sunshine.
The sun gives us most of our vitamin D and we get exposed to the UV B rays much more during the summer months than we do in winter. Could vitamin D keep the flu away?
If this is true, then we would expect to see fewer flu cases in Australia during our winter, and their summer. And that is exactly what we see.
The University of Saint Mary in England looked at vitamin D’s role in preventing colds and flu and found that it certainly did correlate. Low vitamin D meant more respiratory infections and flu.
Which again goes back to sun and summer.
So, the question is why doesn’t the US Center for Disease Control recommend more vitamin D during the winter?
Probably for the same reason they don’t want people in the sun.
It seems that the policy of the government is to keep vitamin D low, despite the evidence that it is vital.
Strangely vitamin D is not technically a vitamin, it is really a hormone. It is vital for the absorption of calcium into the body, and when you are deficient, your bones and teeth get soft.
But it also helps out in nearly every hormonal system of the body including our immunity.
If you prefer an evolutionary model, then you can see how our ability to convert sunlight into vitamin D helped fish evolve into being on the land.
If you have a theological view, you can see how we were created to convert sunlight into this life-sustaining hormone.
But either way, we need ultraviolet sunlight to be healthy, particularly UV B rays, which are strongest in the northern hemisphere during the summer months.
That is when most people’s vitamin D levels are at their highest.
During the winter it drops as we put on more clothes and we have less sunlight.
Like everything, the poison is in the dose. It is possible to kill yourself by drinking too much water.
And it is theoretically possible to get too much vitamin D, but that level is almost absurdly high.
Unfortunately, there was some bad science that was picked up by the popular press that created hysteria about too much vitamin D and to this day there are no vitamin D fortified products for sale in Europe.
And add to that the constant harpings of the government about the dangers of skin cancer and sun exposure.
This is not to say that malignant melanomas are trivial, they are very dangerous, but they are caused by exposure to UV A rays, which you get even through tinted glass and sunscreen lotion.
All our barriers do is stop the helpful UV B rays.
Taking ten times the recommended dosage of vitamin D supplements is perfectly healthy and might provide the protection you need against the flu this winter.