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Study: Vitamin D reduces respiratory infections, antibiotic use

Posted on: December 14, 2012   by  Vitamin D Council


Research published today in BMJ Open suggests that daily supplementation with vitamin D results in less severe respiratory infections and less antibiotic use in a susceptible population.

Research on vitamin D deficiency and respiratory infections has been a hot topic in the news lately, with various studies supporting differing conclusions.

Peter Bergman, resident physician in clinical microbiology at Karolinska University Hospital in Huddinge, and colleagues conducted a randomized, double-blind trial assigning 140 immune deficient patients to daily supplementation of vitamin D (4,000 IU) or placebo for 1 year. Participants had frequent respiratory tract infections (more than 4 per year) and experienced at least “42 days with symptoms of infections from the respiratory tract during the year prior to inclusion.”

The results are as follows:

  • Participants in the vitamin D group had reduced discomfort
  • Patients requiring treatment with antibiotics during the study period was 63 percent lower in the vitamin D group compared with the placebo group
  • There were significantly fewer findings of streptococcus aureus, fungal infections, and respiratory infections in the vitamin D group

For future research, Bergman stated, “I would focus on patients below 50 nmol/l [20 ng/ml]… Available evidence says that only those below these levels have a benefit of additional vitamin D.”

Bergman encourages more research on the subject before definitive recommendations are made.


Rorbecker S. Vitamin D braked respiratory infections. Dagens Medicin. November 29, 2012. (Swedish)

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