Vitamin D reduces the risk of influenza as shown in two randomized controlled trials, one with 800 and 2000 IU/d vitamin D31, the other with 1200 IU/d vitamin D32. As pneumonia often follows influenza, vitamin D would reduce the risk of pneumonia from this cause.

A randomized controlled trial from Kabul with vitamin D supplementation and incidence of pneumonia was reported:

Participants: 453, 1-36 months old children, diagnosed with non-severe or severe pneumonia at the outpatient clinic. Children with rickets, other concurrent severe diseases, very severe pneumonia or wheeze, were excluded.
Intervention:  Vitamin D3 or placebo drops additional to routine pneumonia treatment.
Outcome measures:  Mean number of days to recovery ascertained through daily home or inpatient examinations; incidence of repeat episodes of pneumonia during day 14 to 90 after the index episode resolution, ascertained through two-weekly home-visits and passive case detection at the hospital.
Results: 224 children received vitamin D3 and 229 placebo and had no significant difference in the mean number of days to recovery between the vitamin D3 (4.74 days; SD 2.22) and placebo arms (4.98 days; SD 2.89; p=0.17).  The risk of a repeat episode of pneumonia within 90 days of supplementation was lower in the intervention (92/204; 45%) compared to the placebo group (122/211; (58%) (relative risk 0.78; 95% CI 0.64, 0.94; p=0.01).  Children in the vitamin D3 group survived longer without experiencing a repeat episode (72 days vs. 59 days; HR 0.71; 95%CI 0.53 to 0.95; p=0.02).
Conclusion: A single high dose oral vitamin D3 supplementation to young children along with antibiotic treatment for pneumonia could reduce the occurrence of repeat episodes of pneumonia3.

While this study was conducted on those who had already developed pneumonia, the results should apply to preventing pneumonia as well.

Page last edited: 06 May 2011


  1. Aloia, J. F. Li-Ng, M. Re: epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2007 Oct; 135 (7): 1095-6; author reply 1097-8.
  2. Urashima, M. Segawa, T. Okazaki, M. Kurihara, M. Wada, Y. Ida, H. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. May; 91 (5): 1255-60.
  3. Manaseki-Holland, S. Qader, G. Isaq Masher, M. Bruce, J. Zulf Mughal, M. Chandramohan, D. Walraven, G. Effects of vitamin D supplementation to children diagnosed with umonia in Kabul: a randomised controlled trial. Trop Med Int Health. 2010;