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Vitamin D testing may help individuals determine their risk of developing influenza infections during flu season. Researchers from Yale University have found that a deficiency of this nutrient may increase the chances of developing the infection.
The study determined that individuals who maintain blood serum levels of 38 nanograms per milliliter are 50 percent less likely to come down with the flu.
It was also noted that those who live in higher latitudes are more likely to have insufficient levels of the vitamin, and therefore are more likely to catch the virus.
Vitamin D is produced naturally in the body during exposure to the sun. Individuals who spend little time outdoors are less able to produce the nutrient. The study noted that vitamin supplementation may be an effective way for these people to boost their immune system and reduce their flu risk.
"Maintenance of vitamin D concentration should significantly reduce the incidence of acute viral respiratory tract infections and the burden of illness caused thereby, at least during the fall and winter in temperate zones," said James Sabetta, the Yale University professor who led the research.
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