This vitamin is more powerful than a pneumonia shot

Flu season is here -- and that means something else is here with it: pneumonia season.

Every year, one million Americans -- mostly seniors -- are hospitalized for pneumonia, and some 50,000 die because of the disease.

But what makes this illness so frightening isn't just the numbers.

It's the speed at which it strikes.

We all know someone who was fit as a fiddle on Tuesday and at death's door by Thursday with a high fever, bone-rattling chills, a hacking cough, and all-over pain.

Maybe it's even happened to you.

It's time to cut that risk.

You know the basics: You need to keep healthy overall to keep your immune system working at full strength. And if you're otherwise healthy, there's one more thing you need to add to your daily routine this time of year.

It's vitamin E.

This powerful immune-boosting vitamin can cut the risk of pneumonia in older men by 69 percent, according to a new study in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Compare that to the vaccine that doctors are pushing, which only cuts the risk of pneumonia hospitalization by 23 percent in seniors, according to a 2013 study.

That makes vitamin E supplements THREE TIMES more effective than the vaccine!

What makes this study stand out so much is that -- unlike so many others -- the researchers didn't simply ask the patients about their diets and then guess how much vitamin E they were getting.

No, this was the real deal.

They used data from another study in which men were given either honest-to-goodness E supplements or a placebo -- and the healthy men who took the vitamin had a much lower risk of pneumonia.

The key word there is "healthy," because the study found one set of men who had a problem with the supplements: smokers who are sedentary.

And if you smoke -- or are exposed to lots of secondhand tobacco smoke -- and don't get much movement yourself, the supplements could actually increase your risk of pneumonia.

But let's face it: If you're a sedentary smoker, vitamin E levels are the least of your worries.

You're already facing a higher risk of pneumonia right out of the gate, along with a higher risk of chronic infections such as bronchitis -- not to mention emphysema, lung cancer, heart disease, and more.

So, kick the habit -- or, if there's someone in your life who smokes, help them break the addiction. Once you do, vitamin E can actually repair the damage to your lungs, and you can learn more in this free report from my House Calls archives.