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Meta-analysis: Vitamin D supplementation may prevent respiratory tract infections

Posted on: June 25, 2013   by  John Cannell, MD


We first wrote about respiratory tract infections (RTI) and vitamin D in 2006, in a paper that is now the most cited review paper in the history of the journal. While the article tried to zero in on influenza, it was really about respiratory tract infections in general. It is free to download in its entirety.

Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, Holick MF, Grant WB, Madronich S, Garland CF, Giovannucci E. Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect. 2006 Dec;134(6):1129-40.

We next wrote about influenza in 2008 after I meticulously researched the epidemiology of influenza, including secondary attack rates, serial interval, and multiple studies from 1919 about the failure to demonstrate influenza’s person-to-person infectivity. In the 2008 paper, we put forward a radically different model for the infectivity of influenza, one that depended on vitamin D and a subset of “good infectors.” Using those two assumptions, we explained all nine of influenza’s conundrums. That 2008 paper is the most popular paper in the history of the journal. It is also free to download.

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