Jump to:  A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |   E   |   F   |   G   |   H   |   I   |   J   |   K   |   L   |   M   |   N   |   O   |   P   |   Q   |   R   |   S   |   T   |   U   |   V   |   W   |   X   |   Y

High-Dose Vitamin D May Not Curb Kids' Colds

High-Dose Vitamin D May Not Curb Kids' Colds

TUESDAY, July 18, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- When it comes to vitamin supplements, more is not always better, according to a new study that found even high doses of vitamin D don't protect children from colds in the winter.

"We may have just busted a myth," said study leader Dr. Jonathon Maguire.

"Our findings do not support the routine use of high-dose vitamin D supplementation for the prevention of wintertime upper respiratory tract infections among healthy children," added Maguire. He is a pediatrician at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

Vitamin D is often called the "sunshine" vitamin, because human skin manufactures the nutrient upon contact with sunlight. It's also found in certain foods, such as fatty fish. But many people now take a daily vitamin D supplement, as well.

For the past 30 years, it's been thought that vitamin D can help prevent or reduce the severity of colds and other respiratory tract infections in children, Maguire noted. But there's been little clinical trial data to help doctors and parents make informed decisions, he said.

So how effective is this supplement for children? To find out, the researchers had 350 healthy toddlers take the standard dose of vitamin D drops -- 400 IU/day -- as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for children aged 1 to 5.

Another group of 350 healthy children received a high dose (2,000 IU/day) of the vitamin.

The youngsters began taking the vitamin D drops in the fall of one year and continued taking them until spring of the following year.

Children who took the standard dose had an average of 1.91 colds over the winter, compared with 1.97 colds among the children who received the high dose, the findings showed.

That difference is not statistically significant, Maguire said in a hospital news release.

Two pediatricians who reviewed the study had slightly different opinions on the findings, however.

Dr. Peter Richel agreed with the conclusions of the study. "Though the use of high-dose vitamin D is not harmful, I have never seen any conclusive evidence that it makes any difference in the management of upper respiratory infections -- more commonly known as colds -- in patients of any age," he said. Richel directs pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y.

"In fact, I have often said that by giving patients high doses of vitamin D, we are simply making 'expensive urine,' " since the nutrient passes through the system, Richel added.

But Dr. Michael Grosso, chair of pediatrics at Huntington Hospital in Huntington, N.Y., believes vitamin D supplementation might still have value.

While the study's conclusions are "scientifically correct," he cautioned that "the study does not prove that there is no effect of vitamin D for reducing upper respiratory infections. Children with underlying health problems were not evaluated. Children of other ages were not included. Other dosing regimens were not compared."

For his part, Richel believes there is a simple and time-tested way to help prevent colds in kids.

"It is important to teach children -- and adults -- the importance of good hand hygiene, which is the most effective method of prevention," he said.

The findings were published online July 18 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More information

The Harvard School of Public Health has more on vitamin D.

SOURCES: Peter L. Richel, M.D., chief, department of pediatrics, Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco, N.Y.; Michael Grosso, M.D., chair, pediatrics, and chief medical officer, Huntington Hospital, Huntington, N.Y.; St. Michael's Hospital, news release, July 18, 2017

Reviewed Date: --

Find a pediatrician
Infectious Disease
Dr. Kenji Cunnion
Dr. Randall Fisher
Dr. Laura Sass
Health Tips
Abuse of Prescription ADHD Medicines Rising on College Campuses
Guidelines for Raising Smoke-Free Kids
Helping Kids Get Over their Fears
How Old Is "Old Enough" for Contacts?
Parenting Déjà vu: Raising Your Grandchildren
Parents-to-Be Must Communicate
Reading to Kids Helps Their Development
Talk With Your Kids About These Issues
Talking About Sex with Your Teen
Vitamins Quiz
Diseases & Conditions
Acute Respiratory Disorders
Anatomy of a Child's Brain
Anatomy of the Endocrine System in Children
Anxiety Disorders in Children
Asthma in Children Index
Becker Muscular Dystrophy (BMD) in Children
Bone Marrow Transplant for Children
Brain Tumors in Children
Chemotherapy for Children: Side Effects
Common Cold in Children
Ewing Sarcoma in Children
Gynecological Infections
Hepatitis B (HBV) in Children
Infection in Babies
Inflammatory and Infectious Musculoskeletal Disorders
Inflammatory and Infectious Neurological Disorders
Inguinal Hernia in Children
Insect Bites and Children
Kidney Transplantation in Children
Meningitis in Children
Mood Disorders in Children and Adolescents
Myasthenia Gravis (MG) in Children
Osteosarcoma (Osteogenic Sarcoma) in Children
Pediatric Blood Disorders
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Children
Preparing the School-Aged Child for Surgery
Schizophrenia in Children
School-Aged Child Nutrition
Sports Safety for Children
Superficial Injuries Overview
Television and Children
The Growing Child: 2-Year-Olds
The Heart
The Kidneys
Upper Respiratory Disorders
Your Child's Asthma
Your Child's Asthma: Flare-ups

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.