THE IMPACT OF VITAMIN D SUPPLEMENTATION IN PAEDIATRIC PRIMARY CARE ON RECURRENT RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS: A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

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Antonio Di Mauro, Maria Elisabetta Baldassarre, Manuela Capozza, Alessandra Nicolardi, Silvio Tafuri, Federica Di Mauro, Davide Ferorelli, Nicola Laforgia, Roberto Grosso

Paediatric respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are among the most common reasons for both physician visits and hospital admissions, being associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Evidence suggests that vitamin D supplementation may enhance the immune system of the host. We performed a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the impact of vitamin D supplementation on recurrent respiratory tract infections (RRTIs) in children attending paediatric primary care. We enrolled 77 children, in a primary care setting, who had been diagnosed with recurrent respiratory tract infections (RRTIs) (≥ 6 RTIs per year). 40 of these patients were randomly assigned to the group which received a vitamin D supplement (400 UI/day) from October to March, whereas the remaining 37 patients did not receive any supplementation. The number of RTIs, the duration of respiratory symptoms, the use of antibiotics and the number of physician visits during the study were recorded by parents using a structured diary. Both groups of children had similar baseline characteristics. During the study, significant differences (p<0.05) were found in vitamin D-supplemented group compared to the control group regarding the average number of RTIs (respectively 3.89 ± 2.49 vs. 6.35 ± 3.22), upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) (2.97 ± 1.89 vs. 4.43 ± 2.85) and lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) (0.92 ± 1.14 vs. 1.92 ± 1.85), duration of respiratory symptoms in days (4.2 ± 2.61 vs. 6.86 ± 4.73), use of antibiotics (1.77 ± 1.35 vs. 3.7 ± 2.28) and number of physician visits (3.97 ± 2.32 vs. 6 ± 3.19). According to our data, vitamin D supplementation in children attending primary care settings may reduce the burden of RRTIs. Further and larger studies are needed to confirm our data.

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