End of summer used to shove me into an autumn plummet. A fall fall, as it were. As summer waned, so did I. Health problems that had eased in summer would separate me from my moorings in September, and I'd be cast adrift by November. Winter was a gradually deepening sinkhole with no relief in sight until late May when I was out in the sun again.
I knew I felt better when the sun shone. I said I ran on solar energy. But I never made the connection between health and sun.
Three years ago I read an article by Dr. Joseph Mercola on the seasonal aspect of vitamin D deficiency. It was all I found on the subject back then.
That article prompted me to buy a bottle of vitamin D tablets. And that was my finest winter in years.
Back then vitamin D wasn't considered very interesting. It certainly wasn't considered news.
I saw nothing more on the potential health benefits of vitamin D for some months. Then a trickle of speculative reports began, full of question marks.
It's nice to see vitamin D taking its rightful place and validating itself so fully. Vitamin D has offered up some pleasant surprises, like maybe a greater resistance to the flu.
One study from Greenwich Hospital and Yale University School of Medicine hypothesized that low amounts of vitamin D in temperate climates could be linked with the high incidence of flu and other respiratory viral infections.
Only 16.6 percent of the participants whose vitamin D levels were 38 ng/ml or more got viral infections. However 45 percent of the other participants developed viral infections. And the vitamin D subjects who fell ill were not sick as long as the other subjects.
Leader of the study, Dr. James Sabetta, believes these results suggest that a vitamin D level of 38 ng/ml can significantly reduce the risk of respiratory viral infections.
In another study half the children received 1200 IUs of vitamin D per day. The control group did not.
The children taking vitamin D had 42 percent less incidence of influenza A, the most severe type of flu. They also had six times less asthma attacks than the control group.