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Canadian government using vitamin D testing to determine susceptibility to

Category: Infectious Diseases

A lack of vitamin D has been linked to a diminished immune system response in a number of scientific studies. With the threat of H1N1 virus, also known as the swine flu, considered to be on the rise again as the fall flu season approaches, the Canadian government is taking a unique approach to determine the best public health response by performing vitamin D testing on those who get the disease.

"Epidemiological evidence suggests a role for vitamin D in seasonal influenza," said the Public Health Agency of Canada to Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper. Since vitamin D levels go down in the winter, and flu rates go up, there is reason to suspect a link.

Should the vitamin D testing offer support for a link between higher vitamin D and milder infection with the flu, the agency will likely recommend vitamin D supplementation throughout the flu season.

The researchers told the Globe and Mail they are also drawing on research done in the 1940s where it was found that mice fed a low-vitamin D diet were more susceptible to an experimental version of swine flu than those with normal vitamin D levels.ADNFCR-2248-ID-19286038-ADNFCR

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