: Vitamin D Reduces Ear Infections in Children
By Michael T. Murray, ND
A huge and growing amount of research has now shown that vitamin D deficiency is very common (at least 50 percent of the general population and 80 percent in infants). There is also similar research showing vitamin D supplementation may be the most cost effective strategy in improving health, reducing disease, and living longer. Vitamin D supplementation may prove to be a valuable aid in reducing the risk of upper respiratory tract infection (URI) including ear infections.
The importance of vitamin D on the regulation of cells of the immune system has gained increased appreciation over the past decade with the discovery of the vitamin D receptor on white cells and key vitamin D metabolizing enzymes expressed by cells of the immune system. Vitamin D has been shown to produce a wide range of immune enhancing effects including:
- Enhance clearance of viruses and bacteria by immune cells.
- Modulate the immune system by direct effects on T cell activation.
- Protect against the development of autoimmune diseases.
- Reduce the frequency of viral upper respiratory infections.
In a randomized study involving 116 children with a history of recurrent ear infections (acute otitis media), supplementation with vitamin D3 at a dosage of 1000 IU/day for a period of 4 months was found to restore serum values of at least 30 ng/ml (the cut off value for deficiency) and was found to significantly reduce the risk of acute otitis media by roughly 50 percent. In the vitamin D3 supplemented group 26 of the 58 children developed an ear infection compared to 38 of 58 who received placebo.
The authors concluded that vitamin D deficiency is common in children with recurrent ear infections and low levels of vitamin D are associated with an increase in the occurrence of repeat ear infections.
These results support the importance of adequate vitamin D intake or status in the prevention of upper respiratory infections. Most experts now recommend a daily dosage of 2,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily.
Dr. Michael T. Murray is one of the world's leading authorities on natural medicine and the author of more than 30 bestselling books, including The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.
He is a graduate and former faculty member, and serves on the Board of Regents, of Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington.
© 2016 doctormurray.com