Vitamin D Reduces Recurrent Ear Infections in Children

Children with low levels of vitamin D and recurrent episodes of acute otitis media have a reduced risk of acute otitis media after receiving vitamin D supplementation.

Children with low levels of vitamin D and recurrent episodes of acute otitis media have a reduced risk of acute otitis media after receiving vitamin D supplementation, according to Italian researchers who presented their findings at last month’s Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Denver, CO.

For their research, Susanna Esposito, MD, and colleagues from the University degli Studi di Milano randomized 116 children with low levels of vitamin D and three or more ear infections within the previous six months, or four or more ear infections within the prior year, to receive daily doses of either oral 1,000 IU of vitamin D or placebo for four months.

According to the study authors, children in the placebo group had a mean age of 33.4 months old, while those in the vitamin D group had a mean age of 34.3 months old. Most of the study population was white and had been breastfed for at least three months. All of the children had been vaccinated with an influenza vaccine, and the majority had received a heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.

After monitoring all episodes of acute otitis media for six months, the researchers found that patients in the vitamin D group had significantly lower risk of experiencing one or more ear infections compared to the placebo group (26 versus 38 incidents; P = 0.03). Additionally, the risk of uncomplicated acute otitis media was much smaller in the vitamin D group (P <0.001).

Esposito said the vitamin D treatment was well tolerated and the amount of adverse events wasn’t significantly different between the two groups.