The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Vitamin D and respiratory infection risk

    Circumstantial evidence implicates the wintertime deficiency of vitamin D from too little sunlight, with an increase in colds and flu.

    Researchers from Denver, Colorado and Boston, Massachusetts looked for an association.

    First, the details.

    • Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) were reviewed.
    • The survey included 18,883 participants.
    • Blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) — the best measure of vitamin D status — were compared with the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections.
    • Confounding factors (season, body mass index, smoking history, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) were considered in the review.

    And, the results.

    • Those with the lowest vitamin D blood levels — less than 10 ng per milliliter of blood — were about 40% more likely to report a recent respiratory infection vs those with vitamin D levels of 30 or higher.
    • The association was present in all seasons.
    • The association was stronger in those with a history of asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including emphysema.
      • Asthma patients with the lowest vitamin D levels were 5 times more likely to have had a recent respiratory infection.
      • Among COPD patients, respiratory infections were twice as common among those with vitamin D deficiency.

    The bottom line?
    The authors concluded that those with the lowest blood levels of vitamin D were at greatest risk of getting a respiratory tract infection.

    Next step? Another study where participants are followed in real time, say the authors.

    3/1/09 23:09 JR

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