I will start with a vitamin that has for a long time been associated with the prevention of infections...not vitamin C, but vitamin D. Researchers from Winthrop University Hospital found that giving vitamin D supplements to women of an Afro-Caribbean background (darker skin reduces vitamin D production) reduced common cold and influenza infections by 70% over three years. These researchers stated that the additional vitamin D increased stimulation of innate immunity, that is, the immunity that you don't have to take days to "learn" whenever your immune system meets a new disease-causing microbe. The drop in vitamin D production that comes with spending less time in the sun is a likely trigger of the "flu season", and partly why the elderly are more vulnerable to influenza as other health problems can mean spending less time outside. The news article describing this study also discussed research showing protective effects of vitamin D against multiple sclerosis, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
|Giant kelp, a vegetable rich in iodine.|