This year I somehow avoided getting the flu, despite refusing the winter jab that my doctor recommended. Perhaps I know the reason. I have for the past two years taken vitamin D as a supplement to make up for the absence of regular sunshine holidays, which I haven’t had for a long time.

It is not surprising to read that sales of vitamin D have surged after a major study highlighted its importance in preventing colds and flu. Waitrose reported a seventy per cent rise in sales of the supplement in the week after last month’s report was published. The research, which included around 11,000 patients from 14 countries, also suggested a daily dose of the vitamin could help more than three million people avoid respiratory infections each year. Foods such as oily fish and eggs contain vitamin D, but we produce most of the required amount ourselves when our skin is in sunlight.

The result of the study, collected from 25 clinical trials and published in the British Medical Journal, show that there could be benefits from fortifying foods. Lead researcher, Professor Adrian Martineau from Queen Mary College, London, said: ‘Our study strengthens the case for food fortification to improve vitamin D in countries such as the UK, where profound deficiency is common.’

The report also claimed this would significantly cut NHS costs. Waitrose nutritionist Moira Howie added: ‘Through the spring, summer and autumn, when the sun shines, our bodies can generally make sufficient amounts for our need. A supplement can make good sense during the winter months.’

Well, the benefits of vitamin D will certainly help you ward off the common cold, which I find a real nuisance to put up with. If any of you have the same feeling then why not try it and keep your fingers crossed that hope and experiment might turn out to be good buddies?

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