The question: Is the flu a seasonal disease brought on by lack of exposure to sunshine during the winter or more specifically a reduction in vitamin D? As I have discussed in previous posts, the incidence of the flu has been down this year, although, just in the past week or so there has been an increase of flu complaints. However, the outpatient visits for influenza-like illness is still below baseline which is very unusual for this time of year. I have marked the CDC graph with a red x showing week 8. Last year week 8 was a peak at just below five percent. According to my trend lines, we should be at a peak for this year. The CDC will say it is most likely because of their efforts in getting people to take the vaccine. However, I believe there is a vitamin D component that is creating immunity during the winter months. It has been more than a year or sixty weeks since we were above the baseline of 2.5 percent. Consider the increase in usage of supplemental vitamin D as shown by the survey results from ConsumerLab.com.
I have marked with a red x the projected usage of supplemental vitamin D for 2011. We should see this curve flatten over the next several years, as increase in use starts to saturate the population. This means that more than sixty percent of the population is now supplementing with vitamin D. I suspect the manufacturers of cold remedies can tell you a lot more about how during the winter of 2011-2012, the use of otc cold medicines was off significantly. With increase use of vitamin D, the drop off of the flu is one of the first things you would expect to see as the serum levels of vitamin D increases in the population. Small amounts of vitamin D have a significant impact on immunity toward viruses. I have reported before in this blog that I had not had a cold since 2004 when I started taking vitamin D. I would like to report that I had my first runny nose since 2004 two weeks ago and it lasted about thirty-six hours. I did increase my intake of vitamin D and vitamin C.
How effective is the vaccine for the flu. We have seen in past years that it is not very effective at all. If you think about vaccines that are effective, you do not have to repeat the vaccine every year. Think about polio and small pox, both viruses. You were vaccinated once and that was it. The vaccine for the flu is encouraged to be taken every year even if the composition of viruses has not been changed in the vaccine. IF vaccines are effective, there is no need to repeat EVERY YEAR. I think the better solution is to make your innate immune system believe that it is summertime all year round.
My hat is off to Dr. John Cannell, Vitamin D Council, for his efforts in publishing about vitamin D and the flu. Dr. Cannell, I believe your work has been effective. The above is not a scientific approach, but just a look at the trends. I may be wrong, but only several years of below baseline will tell. – Pandemic Survivor