New data says Vitamin D can help with recurrent ear infections. Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent among children worldwide. A deficiency in vitamin D alters the immune response and increases the risk of infection. Ear infections, known as acute otitis media infections (AOM), can develop from upper respiratory infections and when the middle ear gets infected with bacteria. Children that get these ear infections often have what is called recurrent acute otitis media (aka: recurrent ear infections).
In one study, supplementing with vitamin D increases serum levels, and this increase is significantly associated with a reduction in the total number of AOM episodes. The study also noticed that the positive effect was significant in the group of children with recurrent AOM and lowered the risk of uncomplicated episodes of AOM.
In this study, the researchers randomized 116 children to receive either 1,000 IU/day of vitamin D or placebo for four months.
They found that the children who received the vitamin D experienced less ear infections than the placebo group. They also found those who took vitamin D were less likely to have ear infection associated complications.
Remember, there are many additional benefits of vitamin D beyond just preventing ear infections. Studies have shown it also helps protect against influenza.
The “optimal range” most vitamin D physicians recommend is a blood level of 40 to 70 ng/mL.
If your children or your friends’ children are getting recurrent ear infections, they should have their vitamin D level checked and corrected if it is low.
If you are interested in your child’s vitamin D level, be sure to talk to your health care provider.
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods
1. Esposito S. Abstract G-1249. Presented at: ICAAC 2013; Sept. 9-13, 2013; Denver.
2. Healio. Vitamin D supplementation decreased risk for recurrent AOM, 2013.
3. Thornton KA, et al. Vitamin D deficiency associated with increased incidence of gastrointestinal and ear infections in school-age children. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2013 Jun;32(6):585-93.