Vitamin D not effective for colds and respiratory tract infections

Posted 27 January 2014

Readers will be aware that some while ago, Solal made claims in adverts that Vitamin D is effective for colds/influenza. We pointed out that the claims were false, and the data from the study they used (Japanese schoolgirls), misconstrued.

Two studies published, one at the end of 2013, where Vitamin D/D3 was tested to see if it would work in preventing influenza/colds, found that they did not. Will Solal change their claims? Unlikely, selling Vitamin D and making money is more important.


October 29, 2013 – Supplementation with vitamin D3 does not reduce the incidence or risk for upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in adults, according to a new randomized controlled trial published online September 6 and in the November 15 print issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Judy R. Rees, MPH, PhD, from the Department of Community and Family Medicine, Section of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, and colleagues enrolled 2259 participants (aged 45 – 75 years). Participants were randomly assigned to receive 1000 IU/day of vitamin D3, 1200 mg elemental calcium/day, both, or placebo. “Vitamin D supplementation conferred no significant protection against colds, ILI, or any URTI overall.”

(However, there were some concerns about the study: The researchers acknowledge that self-selection of the 759 participants from the parent trial may have influenced results if participants dropped out early because of a lack of treatment effect. The study authors also note that self-reported adherence to study protocol and lack of laboratory conformation of URTI may also have affected the results.)

Read the study here and commentary here


October 2, 2012 — Adding vitamin D supplements to your diet will not prevent upper respiratory tract infections (URTIs) or hasten your recovery from them, according to the results of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial published in the October 3 issue of JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association). “The main finding from this study is that a monthly dose of 100,000 IU of vitamin D3 in healthy adults did not significantly reduce the incidence or severity of URTIs,” the authors write. “This result remained unchanged when the analysis included winter season or baseline 25-OHD [25-hydroxyvitamin D] levels.”

Read the study and commentary



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