Vitamin D pills could be secret weapon in annual battle against cold and flu
Vitamin D supplements can stave off infections such as colds or flu every year if taken regularly, according to new research.
A study has found that taking the supplements protects against acute respiratory infections.
Vitamin D supplements has been a hot topic in medical circles in recent years with some experts arguing that their usefulness remains uncertain.
But health officials say that vitamin D is vital for bone and muscle health.
Health authorities believe many people do not get the recommended 10 micrograms of vitamin D a day from sunlight in winter.
The latest new study, published in 'The BMJ', suggests that taking vitamin D - also known as the sunshine vitamin - may have benefits beyond bone and muscle health and protects against acute respiratory infections. Results of the study fit with the observation that colds and flu are most common during winter and spring, when levels of vitamin D are at their lowest.
Respiratory tract infections are any infection of the sinuses, throat, airways or lungs and can last up to 30 days.
The common cold is the most widespread respiratory tract infection; others include ear infections, bronchitis and pneumonia.
At least 70pc of the population gets at least one acute respiratory infection every year.
The new research, led by academics from Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), analysed data from almost 11,000 participants aged up to 95 who took part in 25 clinical trials conducted in 14 countries, including the UK.
The study concluded that supplements can help prevent infections, particularly in those who are deficient in vitamin D.