New research published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal has found that low vitamin D levels in children are associated with an increased risk of gastrointestinal and ear infections.
The research team, led by Dr. Kathryn Thorton of Michigan State University and working in conjunction with the Foundation for Research in Nutrition and Health (FINUSAD), Bogotá, Colombia, sampled vitamin D levels from 475 schoolchildren in Colombia and followed them for one school year. The children’s caregivers recorded days of diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and earaches.
Ten percent of the children were vitamin D deficient (levels less than 20 ng/ml) and 47% were insufficient (levels between 20 and 30 ng/ml).
When the researchers looked at whether vitamin D levels correlated at all with infections, they found increased rates of diarrhea, vomiting, earache and fever in children who were vitamin D deficient compared to those with normal levels.
“These results suggest that [vitamin D deficiency] is related to increased incidence of gastrointestinal and ear infections in school-age children,” the researchers stated.
The research team calls for future studies to look at the effects of vitamin D supplementation in correcting for deficiency and reducing risk of gastrointestinal and ear infections in schoolchildren.