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Providing perspectives on recent research into vitamins and nutritionals


Hoping to Stay Healthy in 2015? Here’s Some Free Advice

By Michael McBurney

It is the season of year for flus and new year’s resolutions. According to CDC surveillance, the percentage of outpatient visits which were for influenza-like illness increased above the national baseline during the last two weeks of December. By the way, there were 3 influenza pandemics in the 20th century (the 1918 Spanish flu, the 1957-58 Asian flu, and the 1968-170 Hong Kong flu) and one to date in the 21st century (2009 swine flu).

The best flu prevention is to get vaccinated annually. In addition, avoid sick people. Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing (preferably with a disposable tissue or a sleeve rather than a hand). Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wash your hands with soap and water (or use alcohol-based hand rubs). Clean and disinfect surfaces which may be contaminated with germs. These actions will help reduce your exposure.

When thinking about 2015 resolutions, remember there are emotional benefits to looking after one’s health. People who get vaccinated ‘worry less about getting the flu’. Happy  people live longer.  It is important to get enough sleep and eat lots of nutrient-rich foods.  Multivitamin supplements can help meet nutrient gaps. In fact, people who don’t use multivitamin supplements are more likely to be have suboptimal vitamin and mineral intakes.  

Vitamins are essential for maintaining a healthy, functional immune system. Winter is a period when vitamin D status can drop. People with serum 25(OH)D3 concentrations below 20 µg/mL (50 nmol/L) have more depressive symptoms than those with concentrations beween 50-75 nmol/L and >75 nmol/L. Influenza occurrence was lower in Japanese schoolchildren supplemented with vitamin D3 (1,200 IU daily) than those receiving placebo (Urashima et al).

Good habits help keep people healthier. Eat nutritiously. Exercise regularly. Maintain a healthy body weight. Don’t smoke. Drink alcohol in moderation. Because every day isn’t perfect, a multivitamin supplement can be a safe way to help fill nutrient gaps.

Main Citation

Mizoue T, Kochi T, Akter S, Eguchi M, Kurotani K, Tsuroka H, Kuwahara K, Ito R, Kabe I, Nanri A. Low serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations are associated with increased likelihood of having depressive symptoms among Japanese workers. 20145 J Nutr doi: 10.3945/jn.114.204115

Other Citations

Shaik-Dasthagirisaheb YB, Varvara G, Murmura G, Saggini A, Caraffa A, Antinolfi P, Tete S, Tripodi D, Conti F, Cianchette E, Toniato E, Rosati M, Speranza L, Pantalone A, Saggini R, Tei M, Speziali A, Conti P, Theoharides TC, Pandolfi F. Role of vitamins D, E and C in immunity and inflammation. 2013 J Biol Reg Homeost Agents PMID: 23830380

Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurhihara M, Wada Y, Ida H. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. 2010 Am J Clin Nutr doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2009.29094

Thompson MG, Gaglani MJ, Naleway A, Ball S, Henkle EM, Sokolow LZ, Brennan B, Zhou H, Foster L, Black C, Kennedy ED, Bozeman S, Grohskopf LA, Shay DK. The emotional benefits of influenza vaccination strongly affect pre-season intentions and subsequent vaccination among healthcare personnel. 2012 Vaccine doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2012.03.062

Diener E, Chan MY. Happy people live longer: subjective well-being contributes to health and longevity. 2011 Appl Psych doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0854.2010.01045.x

Dickinson A, MacKay D. Health habits and other characteristics of dietary supplement users: A review. 2014 Nutr J doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-13-14