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Vitamin D reduces risk of hospital-acquired infections

Posted on: July 6, 2012   by  Dr William Grant


In a paper published recently in Dermato-Endocrinology, the evidence that vitamin D can reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) was reviewed.

HAIs are common due to several factors including a high density of people who might be infected and use of antibiotics leading to antibiotic resistance bacteria. Thus, it is not surprising that HAIs are common. The paper states:

“Hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are a leading cause of death in the US health care arena, with an overall estimated annual incidence of 1.7 million cases and 100,000 deaths…Pneumonia was the most likely disease, followed by bacteremias, urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, and others.”

Those who enter hospitals often do so as the result of other diseases linked to low vitamin D concentrations, such as several types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, fractures, and infectious diseases.

As discussed in a number of postings here at http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/, low blood vitamin D concentration is an important risk factor for many types of infectious diseases, both bacterial and viral. The mechanisms include induction of cathelicidin and defensins, which have antimicrobial and antiendotoxin properties and affecting other aspects of the body’s innate immune system such as inflammatory cytokine response to infection.

To reduce the risk of developing HAIs, those entering hospitals should try to get blood vitamin D concentrations above 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/l) either before entering or as soon after entering as possible. If deficient, 50,000 IU vitamin D3 capsules (Bio-Tech Pharmacal) can be taken daily for several days, followed by several thousand IU/day thereafter.


Youssef DA, Ranasinghe T, Grant WB and Perris AN. Vitamin D’s potential to reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections. Dermato-Endocrinology, June 2012.

2 Responses to Vitamin D reduces risk of hospital-acquired infections

  1. jwgreg9

    What are the symptoms of Vitamin D toxicity? What organs, liver, kidneys etc might be affected by this? Thank you.

  2. Dr William Grant

    The primary toxic effect of excess vitamin D is hypercalcemia, i.e., elevated calcium in the blood. I suggest you Google hypercalcemia. The information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypercalcaemia is useful. The good news is that hypercalcemia can be corrected simply by letting vitamin D levels decline.

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