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)