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Infantile pneumonia

Posted on: May 11, 2011   by  John Cannell, MD


Pregnant women – like the rest of us – have a choice to make.  Do we wait for the hundreds of randomized controlled trials that are currently being conducted to see if vitamin D helps, or do we act now, on what we know now?


Today, pregnant women – and the rest of us – learned that pregnant women with the lowest vitamin D levels had infants that were six times more likely to get the most common cause of viral pneumonia over the first year of their life.

Mirjam E. Belderbos, et al  Cord Blood Vitamin D Deficiency is Associated With Respiratory Syncytial Virus Bronchiolitis. Pediatrics, May 11, 2011, (doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-3054)

As I write this, the paper is not yet indexed in PubMed but I found some evidence it was rushed to publication (percentages of women using vitamin D supplements in the next to last row of Table 1 on page 1516 are reversed).  However, what I liked was the authors intimation that current recommendations of 600 IU/day for pregnant women by the National Academies (the Food and Nutrition Board) are woefully inadequate.  A number of studies exist showing vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for infantile pneumonia, but this was a prospective study of vitamin D levels, a type of study that is as close to a randomized controlled trial as you can get, while we wait.

Cevallos M. Vitamin D might be associated with risk of lung infection in infants. Los Angeles Times, May 11, 2011.

The National Academies says that 600 IU/day is all pregnant women need and that 5,000 IU/day is dangerous. However, vitamin D scientists take an average of 5,000 IU/day.

Mittelstaedt M  Scientists taking vitamin D in droves  Jul. 22, 2010.

We all have a choice to make, while we wait.


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