Stories tagged Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Vitamin D supplement study in children reduced catching flu almost in half

Vitamin D: Calcitriol is the active form of vitamin D found in the body.
Vitamin D: Calcitriol is the active form of vitamin D found in the body.Courtesy JaGa

Last week I blogged about why Vitamin D is needed for health.

This week I came across another study showing that Vitamin D is a flu fighter. The study has just been published online, ahead of print, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
In the study children were asked to swallow six pills a day (25% dropped out). Half of the children's pills were placebos (fake). The pill givers did not know which pills were fake (double blind).

Incidence of influenza A was 10.8 percent among the 167 kids who received vitamin D pills. That's in contrast to a flu rate of 18.6 percent among an equal number of children getting identical looking inert pills. Doctors monitoring the trial confirmed flu cases using a test to assay for the influenza-A germ.

Vitamin D group had fewer asthma attacks

The study also noted that two asthma attacks occurred during the trial among kids getting the vitamin, compared to 12 in the unsupplemented group. The study doesn’t say whether the same number of kids with a history of asthma were in each group so this result may not be valid.

Better protection after 3 months of Vitamin D

The researchers also stated that it may take almost three months “to reach a steady state of vitamin D concentrations by supplementation". I interpret this to mean that takes our bodies about 90 days to accumulate an effective Vitamin D concentration (less illness after 3 months of taking vitamin D than during initial 3 months).


Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;

The Village Blacksmith
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

ChestnutCourtesy Jaydot

At the end of April, President Bush marked Arbor Day by planting an American chestnut tree on the White House lawn. What makes this small piece of political theater significant is that the chestnut—a beautiful native tree which featured prominently in art and literature—was virtually wiped out by disease.

In 1900, chestnut trees spread from Maine to Mississippi. By 1950, some 99% of them had died of chestnut blight, a fungus introduced from China. A few isolated populations hung on, primarily in remote regions of the Appalachian Mountains.

In recent years, scientists have worked hard to breed a disease-resistant strain. They've taken surviving chestnuts and crossed them with Chinese chestnuts, which have a natural resistance to the disease. The result is a new American chestnut that can withstand the blight.