Children who consume vitamin D supplements have less risk of developing respiratory infections in winter, suggests a new study.
An international team of scientists have found that lack of Vitamin D can increase the risk of developing respiratory infections in winter.
"Our randomized controlled trial shows that vitamin D has important effects on infection risk. In almost 250 children with low blood levels of vitamin D during winter, we found that taking a daily vitamin D supplement cut in half the risk of a respiratory infection," said Carlos Camargo, MD, researcher at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH).
Vitamin D is naturally produced by the body in response to sunlight, however, in winter there is lack of sunlight and our body gets very less Vitamin D. Lack of Vitamin D increases the risk of developing several infections.
Pervious study has found that vitamin D - best known for its role in the development and maintenance of strong bones - has additional important roles, including in immune function. However, the new study has found that Vitamin D deficiency increase the risk of developing respiratory infections.
The study was conducted on school children from the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar.
During the research, one group of students was given Vitamin D supplements added in their milk while the other group received normal milk. The study revealed that the children who received vitamin D had about half the incidence of respiratory infections than the other group.
"Our study design provides strong evidence that the association between low vitamin D and respiratory infections is causal and that treating low vitamin D levels in children with an inexpensive and safe supplement will prevent some respiratory infections," said Camargo
"The large benefit was undoubtedly related to the low baseline vitamin D levels of these children, so I would not expect the supplement to provide similar benefit in children who start with healthy levels of vitamin D".