International Health News

Vitamin D reduces recurrent ear infections in young children

MILAN, ITALY. A study just reported at the Interscience Conference on Anti-Microbial Agents and Chemotherapy by Susanna Esposito and colleagues found that supplementation with 1000 IU of vitamin D per day significantly decreased the risk of experiencing one or more episodes of acute otitis media (ear infection) in a group of children of mean age 33 months. Vitamin D levels as measured by 25-hydroxyvitamin D were 25.8 ng/mL in the placebo group and 26.5 ng/mL in the intervention group. After 6 months, the placebo group had levels of 18.7 ng/mL vs. the treatment group at 36.2 ng/Ml. Over a 12 month period prior to the study the average number of episodes was 5 in each group and one-third were complicated by perforation. During the 6 months of the study, there were 10/58 children who had one or more episodes in the vitamin D group vs. 29/58 in the placebo group. It is of interest that the conventional treatment protocol has been subject to some controversy because of the issue of the overuse of antibiotics, with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics in February 2013 advocating stricter diagnostic criteria and observing rather than treating patients with uncomplicated cases. Vitamin D levels >30 ng/mL are regarded as sufficient but the optimum level in this age group does not appear well studied. More impressive results might have been found if the treated group had reached 40-50 ng/mL.

Esposito S et Al. Vitamin D supplementation reduces the risk of acute otitis media in otis-prone children, Pediatr Infect Dis J, 2013 Oct;32(10):1055-60

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