High-dose vi­ta­min D no bet­ter than stan­dard dose for avert­ing kids’ colds

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - SH­ERYL UBELACKER TORONTO —

Giv­ing chil­dren high daily doses of vi­ta­min D in­stead of the stan­dard rec­om­mended amount doesn’t ap­pear to re­duce the num­ber of times they come down with win­ter­time snif­fles, a study sug­gests.

For the last 30 years, vi­ta­min D has been thought to play a role in pre­vent­ing or re­duc­ing the num­ber of colds and bouts of flu chil­dren ex­pe­ri­ence over the fall and win­ter. But Toronto re­searchers found chil­dren who re­ceived the stan­dard daily dose of 400 in­ter­na­tional units (IUs) and those given 2,000 IUs per day both had an av­er­age of al­most two up­per res­pi­ra­tory infections dur­ing the cold-weather months.

“What we found was there was no dif­fer­ence in the num­ber of vi­ral infections that chil­dren got, re­gard­less of which group they were in — the high-dose group or the reg­u­lar­dose group,” said Dr. Jonathon Maguire, a pe­di­a­tri­cian at St. Michael’s Hospi­tal. “I think that we just busted a myth here, that giv­ing more vi­ta­min D doesn’t seem to pro­tect against vi­ral infections.”

To con­duct the study, pub­lished Tues­day in the Jour­nal of the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion, re­searchers en­rolled about 700 chil­dren aged one to five, whose par­ents were to ad­min­is­ter one of two daily oral doses of vi­ta­min D. Half of the kids were ran­domly se­lected to re­ceive 400 IUs, while the other half were to get 2,000 IUs.

Maguire said data from ex­per­i­ments had sug­gested vi­ta­min D might help pro­duce pro­teins that can pro­tect the res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem from vi­ral infections.

“So we hy­poth­e­sized that if we gave chil­dren a high dose of vi­ta­min D, we might pro­mote the pro­duc­tion of these pro­teins and pro­tect them from get­ting win­ter­time colds,” he said. “But what this pa­per is show­ing is that giv­ing more has no ben­e­fit in terms of vi­ral infections.”

Among the group of chil­dren who re­ceived 400 IUs of vi­ta­min D drops daily, each de­vel­oped 1.91 colds on av­er­age, com­pared to 1.97 each in the group of kids given 2,000 IUs — a dif­fer­ence that Maguire called not sta­tis­ti­cally sig­nif­i­cant.

The re­searchers con­firmed the chil­dren had re­ceived their as­signed dosages through tests that mea­sured the level of vi­ta­min D in their blood. As well, par­ents were asked to re­turn their used vials of vi­ta­min D drops, and close to 100 per cent had been de­pleted.

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