Background: It is uncertain whether vitamin D can reduce respiratory infection.
Objective: To determine whether vitamin D supplementation reduces influenza and other upper viral respiratory tract infections.
Methods: A total of 1300 healthy children and adolescents between the ages of 3 and 17 years were randomized to vitamin D (14 000 U weekly) or placebo for 8 months in Vietnam. The primary outcome was reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR-confirmed influenza infection, and the coprimary outcome was multiplex PCR-confirmed non-influenza respiratory viruses. Participants, caregivers, and those assessing outcomes were blinded to group assignment.
Results: A total of 650 children and adolescents were randomly assigned to vitamin D and 650 to placebo. The mean baseline serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels were 65.7 nmol/L and 65.2 nmol/L in the intervention and placebo groups, respectively, with an increase to 91.8 nmol/L in the vitamin D group and no increase, 64.5 nmol/L, in the placebo group. All 1300 participants randomized contributed to the analysis. We observed RT-PCR-confirmed influenza A or B occurred in 50 children (7.7%) in the vitamin D group and in 43 (6.6%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.18, 95% CI: 0.79-1.78). RT-PCR-confirmed non-influenza respiratory virus infection occurred in 146 (22.5%) in the vitamin D group and in 185 (28.5%) in the placebo group (hazard ratio [HR]: 0.76, 95% CI: 0.61-0.94). When considering all respiratory viruses, including influenza, the effect of vitamin D in reducing infection was significant, HR: 0.81, 95% CI: 0.66-0.99.
Conclusion: Vitamin D supplementation did not reduce the incidence of influenza but moderately reduced non-influenza respiratory viral infection.
Keywords: influenza; randomized trial; respiratory viruses; vitamin D.
© 2018 The Authors. Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.