Ear infections can be painful and frustrating. A new study has shown that increasing the levels of vitamin D reduced the incidence of recurrent ear infections in children, particularly in those with very low vitamin D levels. According to the University of Maryland, 75 percent of all children get ear infections and by the age of one year, 60 percent of children will have had at least one ear infection.
Researchers from University of Milan, Italy studied 116 children with recurrent otitis media. Recurrent otitis media was defined as “three or more episodes in the 6 months prior to the study or four or more episodes in the 12 months prior to the study, ” reported Medpage Today.
The average age of the participants was approximately 34 months, most were white and over 80 perceny of each group had received a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine. Over 72 percent of the test group and 84 percent of the placebo group had been breastfed for three or more months.
The children were either given a daily dose of 1,000 IU vitamin D or a placebo taken orally, for four months. The entire group was then monitored for six months for occurrences of acute otitis media.
The abstract stated that the number of children who had one or more episodes of acute otitis media was significantly lower in the treatment group than the placebo group (26 vs. 38). The incidence of complicated acute otitis media was also significantly lowered.
Dr. Susanna Esposito, one of the researchers, noted that as many as 80 percent of children in the study had baseline serum vitamin D levels that were <0 ng/mL. All but two of the children in the treatment group had improvements to levels >30 ng/mL from supplementation, the recommended level for vitamin D.
Esposito suggested to doctors that “if you have a child with recurrent otitis media you can check serum levels of vitamin D and if they present below certain levels you can try supplementation,” reported FirstWord Pharma.
If you are a parent with a child that has been having recurrent ear infections, you can ask your doctor to have your child’s vitamin D levels checked and discuss giving vitamin D supplementation as well.