Monday, March 15, 2010

Vit D May Prevent the Flu

A doctor I have been talking to in Springfield, IL says there are many benefits to vitamin D and the lack of vitamin D in many kids is dangerous.

He sent me this study on kids and vitamin D that looks at whether the supplement can prevent influenza or the flu. Vitamin D supplements over the winter could mean fewer trips to the doctor's office. That sounds good to me!

Note: The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 400IU. The kids in this randomized trial received substantially more than that.

Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren 1,2,3

ABSTRACT Background: To our knowledge, no rigorously designed clinical trials have evaluated the relation between vitamin D and physician-diagnosed seasonal influenza.

Objective: We investigated the effect of vitamin D supplements on the incidence of seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren.

Design: From December 2008 through March 2009, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial comparing vitamin D3 supplements (1200 IU/d) with placebo in schoolchildren. The primary outcome was the incidence of influenza A, diagnosed with influenza antigen testing with a nasopharyngeal swab specimen.

Results: Influenza A occurred in 18 of 167 (10.8%) children in the vitamin D3 group compared with 31 of 167 (18.6%) children in the placebo group [relative risk (RR), 0.58; 95% CI: 0.34, 0.99; P = 0.04]. The reduction in influenza A was more prominent in children who had not been taking other vitamin D supplements (RR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.79; P = 0.006) and who started nursery school after age 3 y (RR: 0.36; 95% CI: 0.17, 0.78; P = 0.005). In children with a previous diagnosis of asthma, asthma attacks as a secondary outcome occurred in 2 children receiving vitamin D3 compared with 12 children receiving placebo (RR: 0.17; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.73; P = 0.006).

Conclusion: This study suggests that vitamin D3 supplementation during the winter may reduce the incidence of influenza A, especially in specific subgroups of schoolchildren. This trial was registered at as UMIN000001373.
Received for publication December 17, 2009. Accepted for publication February 11, 2010.

-NewsAnchorMom Jen
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