Vitamin D supplementation linked to fewer colds for kids

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Vitamin D-deficient kids may benefit from supplementation, according to the results of a new study published in the journalPediatrics. The new report found that such children had fewer colds during the winter.

To test whether consuming more vitamin D can actually reduce a child s risk of coming down with a cold, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston looked at nearly 250 third- and fourth-graders from a high latitude Mongolian city known for its extremely cold temperatures. At the study s onset, the children had an average vitamin D blood concentration of 7 ng/ml far below the deficiency level of 20 ng/ml.

The children were split up into two groups: One half received daily milk fortified with vitamin D, while the other half received unfortified milk. After three months, the children s parents were interviewed about their child s frequency of colds, and the researchers found that kids receiving vitamin D supplementation had 50 percent fewer upper respiratory infections.

Unlike in Mongolia, however, many foods in the U.S are fortified with vitamin D yet 20 percent of children under the age of 12 still have a vitamin D deficiency. This may also be due to the fact that more kids today are spending time indoors playing video games instead of being out in the sun, which is a major source of vitamin D.

ACSH's Dr. Ruth Kava also notes that the use of sunscreens can prevent the formation of vitamin D in the skin of the user. It s amazing that there s now so much research being done on the various effects of inadequate levels of vitamin D, she says. And now here s one more possible problem.