Does Winter Vitamin D Supplementation Reduce URI Risk in Children?

High dose supplementation did not reduce overall wintertime upper respiratory tract infections
High dose supplementation did not reduce overall wintertime upper respiratory tract infections

(HealthDay News) — High doses of vitamin D don't protect children from upper respiratory tract infections in the winter, according to a study published in the July 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers had 354 healthy toddlers take the standard dose of vitamin D drops -- 400 IU/day -- as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for children aged 1 to 5. Another group of 349 healthy children received a high dose (2,000 IU/day) of the vitamin. The participants began taking the vitamin D drops in the fall of one year and continued taking them until spring of the following year.

The investigators found that the mean number of laboratory-confirmed upper respiratory tract infections per child was 1.05 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.91 to 1.19) for the high-dose group and 1.03 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.90 to 1.16) for the standard-dose group (incidence rate ratio [RR], 0.97; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.80 to 1.16). The team also found no significant difference in the median time to the first laboratory-confirmed infection, or number of parent-reported upper respiratory tract illnesses between groups.

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"These findings do not support the routine use of high-dose vitamin D supplementation in children for the prevention of viral upper respiratory tract infections," the authors write.

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