News

Vitamin D may prevent virus infections in infants

May 13, 2011

Newborns with vitamin D deficiency could be at increased risk of lower respiratory tract infection by the respiratory syncytial virus, reports a new study from the Netherlands.

The study measured the concentration of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D in the cord blood of 156 newborns (1). The results of the investigation showed that 54 percent of healthy newborns were born with inadequate plasma vitamin D levels. Eighteen of the children (12 percent) developed respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections of the lower respiratory tract in the first year of life. The risk for infants with vitamin D deficiency
(27 percent) of developing RSV infections was six times greater than that of newborns with the highest levels of vitamin D. Only 46 percent of the women participating in the study reported taking supplements containing vitamin D during pregnancy.

The investigators commented that an adequate intake of vitamin D in the form of food supplements during pregnancy could reduce the risk of RSV infection in newborn infants. However, this hypothesis needs to be substantiated in larger-scale clinical studies. Respiratory syncytial virus is the most common cause of infections of the lower respiratory tract in infants and the main reason for hospitalization.

References

  1. Belderbos M. E. et al. Cord blood vitamin D deficiency is associated with respiratory syncytial virus bronchiolitis. Pediatrics. 2011.