A new study suggests vitamin D supplementation could prevent recurrent ear infections in young children. The study found that toddlers taking 1,000 IUs of vitamin D daily had a significantly reduced risk of suffering from one or more cases of acute otitis media compared to a placebo group. The vitamin D children also had a lower risk of uncomplicated otitis media.
The findings could have important implications for pediatricians and parents worried about the overuse of antibiotics in treating otitis media. In February 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended pediatricians follow stricter diagnosis guidelines before prescribing antibiotics for otitis media, and pointed out that many cases can be healed with a “wait and see approach.”
Researchers from the Universita degli Studi di Milano in Italy presented their preliminary study at the Interscience Conference on Anti-Microbial Agents and Chemotherapy. If their results are confirmed in future studies, doctors could begin testing children for vitamin D deficiency, and use supplementation to combat the condition.
The researchers tested the effects of vitamin D supplementation in 116 children with a mean age between 33-34 months. At the start of the study, both groups were deficient in vitamin D, and had experienced an average of five ear infections in the previous year. The children were assigned to either a vitamin D or a placebo group, received treatment for 4 months, and were monitored for subsequent ear infections for six months. By the end of the study, blood concentrations of vitamin D rose substantially in the supplement group, who also experienced fewer ear infections (26 cases versus 38 cases).
This study suggests that vitamin D deficiency may play a role in the onset of acute otits media. Other nutritional deficits and allergies may also contribute, and herbal supplements have also been found to be beneficial for kids with ear infections. Many doctors of chiropractic are trained in nutrition and natural methods of alleviating acute otitis media. One recent article showed how chiropractic spinal adjustments may improve symptoms in pediatric otitis media.
Petrochko C. Vitamin D cuts kids’ recurrent ear infection. Medpage Today. September 13, 2013. Accessed September 17, 2013.