News Release

High-dose vitamin D does not reduce risk of common cold among young children

Peer-Reviewed Publication

JAMA Network

Among children 1 to 5 years of age, daily high-dose administration of vitamin D did not reduce overall wintertime upper respiratory tract infections, according to a study published by JAMA.

Viral upper respiratory tract infections are the most common infectious illnesses of childhood. Both observational and clinical trial data have suggested a link between low levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D and increased rates of respiratory tract infections. Whether winter supplementation of vitamin D reduces the risk among children is unknown. Jonathon L. Maguire, M.D., M.Sc., of the University of Toronto, and colleagues randomly assigned children ages 1 through 5 years to receive 2,000 IU/d of vitamin D oral supplementation (high-dose group; n=349) or 400 IU/d (standard-dose group; n=354) for a minimum of four months between September and May.

The average number of laboratory-confirmed (based on parent-collected nasal swabs) upper respiratory tract infections per child were 1.05 for the high-dose group and 1.03 for the standard-dose group. There was also no significant difference in the median time to the first laboratory-confirmed infection: 3.95 months for the high-dose group vs 3.29 months for the standard-dose group, or number of parent-reported upper respiratory tract illnesses between groups (625 for high-dose vs 600 for standard-dose groups).

"These findings do not support the routine use of high-dose vitamin D supplementation in children for the prevention of viral upper respiratory tract infections," the authors write.

A limitation of the study was that children may have had upper respiratory tract infections without swabs being submitted.


For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jama.2017. 8708)

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