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Low vitamin D levels may increase the risk of urinary tract infections among children

February 16, 2015

A new study from Turkey suggests that children with insufficient blood vitamin D concentrations seem to have a higher risk suffering from urinary tract infections. 

The observational study compared the blood vitamin D concentrations of 64 healthy children with 82 children experiencing their first episode of a urinary tract infection (UTI) (1). The study results showed that the vitamin D levels were significantly lower in the children with UTIs compared to the healthy children, with average vitamin D levels of 11.7 ng/ml and 27.6 ng/ml, respectively. Children with vitamin D levels below 20 ng/ml were 3.5 times more likely to experience a UTI.

The scientists commented that vitamin D seems to help fight infection by producing anti-microbial peptides. These peptides help the body destroy the cell walls of viruses and bacteria. UTI occurs when bacteria from the large intestine invades the urethra and travels up to the bladder. UTIs are very common in women, so much so that some experts estimate that half of all women will experience at least one UTI in their lifetime, and many will experience repeated infections. If the infection is left untreated, the bacteria continues its way up and can infect the kidneys.

References

  1. Tekin M. et al. The Association between Vitamin D Levels and Urinary Tract Infection in Children. Hormone Research Pediatrics. Published online February 2015.