Tags: vitamin | d | cold | infection | child

Vitamin D Cuts Kids’ Colds, Lung Infections

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 11:54 AM

Vitamin C has long been recommended to reduce the risk of catching seasonal colds and respiratory infections. But new research has found vitamin D supplements can significantly decrease children’s odds of developing respiratory infections.
The findings, reported by Massachusetts General Hospital researchers, indicated wintertime infection risks were cut virtually in half in children who received supplements to boost the levels of the “sunshine vitamin” in their blood.
"Our randomized controlled trial shows that vitamin D has important effects on infection risk," said Dr. Carlos Camargo, an MGH doctor who helped conduct the study, published in the journal Pediatrics. "In almost 250 children with low blood levels of vitamin D during winter, we found that taking a daily vitamin D supplement cut in half the risk of a respiratory infection."
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The study, conducted in Mongolian schoolchildren, suggests daily vitamin D supplementation may be an important way to curb the impact of the annual cold and flu season, particularly in colder regions of the country.
The findings add to recent research that has suggested that vitamin D – best known for its role in the development and maintenance of strong bones – has additional important roles, including in immune function.
Since vitamin D is naturally produced by the body in response to sunlight, maintaining adequate levels in winter is challenging in colder climates that have significant seasonal variations in daily sunlight.
"Our study design provides strong evidence that the association between low vitamin D and respiratory infections is causal and that treating low vitamin D levels in children with an inexpensive and safe supplement will prevent some respiratory infections," said Camargo, a professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.
The U.S. Institute of Medicine recommends a daily dose of to 400 IUs of vitamin D for children.
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Vitamin D supplements can decrease children’s odds of catching seasonal respiratory infections.
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 11:54 AM
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