Can Taking a Vitamin D Supplement Prevent Colds?

Supplement image courtesy of worradmu/

Vitamin D is a hot seller in the supplement aisles, especially during winter months when many folks don’t get much sunlight.  But will taking vitamin D help you ward off a cold or recover faster once you’ve got one?


The October 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association published a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial, 322 healthy men and women age 18 or older received either vitamin D pills or a placebo for 18 months, including two winter seasons. During that time, they also answered monthly questionnaires about their health and contacted researchers whenever they experienced cold symptoms.

There were 593 colds in the vitamin D group, and 611 in the placebo group, not a significant difference, according to the team led by researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

The investigators also found no significant difference between the groups in the number of participants who had colds (3.7 per person in the vitamin D group and 3.8 per person in the placebo group, on average), duration of symptoms per cold (12 days in each group, on average), the number of days of missed work as a result of colds (less than a day in each group, on average), or the severity of colds.

“The fact that receptors for vitamin D exist in many organs and structures of the body has led to much speculation on the multifaceted prowess of this vitamin,” said Marvin Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports chief medical consultant. “But only randomized controlled clinical trials can turn such belief into truth.”

Bottom line:

Some prior research had hinted that vitamin D might improve immune function and possibly prevent respiratory infections like the common cold. But in this this well-designed study, monthly doses of 10,000 international units of vitamin D (a dosing regimen more than 5 times the recommended daily allowance of 600 IU for adults ages 19 to 70) did not significantly reduce the incidence or severity of colds

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*reference: Consumer Reports Health

About Dave Barnas, M.S., CES, NASM-CPT

Dave is the true health guy. He is the founder and owner of True Health Unlimited, LLC, a personal health and fitness company in Tolland, CT & Wellness Writers, a subscription wellness newsletter service that incorporates live & virtual wellness workshops for companies across New England. Dave earned both a Bachelor's (1998) and Master's Degree (2000) in Nutritional Science from the University of Connecticut, and also holds certifications as a National Strength and Conditioning Association Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Group Instructor, and Nutrition Specialist. He's also the lead author for four published works. Dave has over 20 years of combined experience in nutrition counseling, dietary supplement advising, personal training, corrective exercise training, health coaching and public speaking. In addition, he's spent over 25 years studying spirituality, meditation, and personal growth strategies. Dave's clients are all ages: youth, college championship level athletes, folks in their retired years, and everywhere in between. He's worked with three of the nation's leading physicians as a dietary supplement advisor and been a guest lecturer at Harvard University, Yale University, UConn, St. Joseph College and various church groups, health clubs, and high schools. In 2013, he was invited to Whole Foods Market to share his Real Food Therapy Guide. And in 2015, Dave's funny "Snowga" (yoga in the snow) video caught the attention of The National Weather Channel, who aired it to shake off cabin fever and bring laughter. In 2016, Dave & Hollie (his wife) founded Wellness Writers and deliver evidence-based Wellness E-newsletters to spread a message of health and happiness to various businesses throughout the US. Dave currently serves as a personal trainer in Tolland as well as a wellness coach and writer for several businesses, gyms and wellness facilities throughout the US.

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