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Vitamin D may prevent pneumonia

Posted:  Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Vitamin D treats pneumonia in children! This is what researchers are saying as they investigate the potential link between Vitamin D deficiency and childhood pneumonia in Indonesia. However, further scientific evidence is required before Vitamin D is recommended for management of pneumonia.

A study funded by the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and the Gates Foundation in 2008 indicated that Indonesia was among the top 6 countries for detection of new pneumonia cases among children under five years of age. However, Dr Vicka Oktaria, a physician and PhD student at Gadjah Mada University and the University of Melbourne, pointed out that the study was based on an outdated epidemiological model.

Previous studies have suggested a link between vitamin D deficiency and acute respiratory illnesses. Moreover, a recent study from Indonesia estimated 35%-47% prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among children aged two years or older. Hence, there was a need for a new study to investigate the association between respiratory illness and vitamin D deficiency.

To confirm the aforementioned association, scientists from Australia and Indonesia have undertaken collaborative research projects. The research protocols followed are from the Rotavirus vaccine trial, a 40 years of collaborative research between the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Gadjah Mada University.

Dr Oktaria hopes that the studies on vitamin D deficiency and Rotavirus vaccine will provide sufficient scientific evidence. Moreover, they will also impart useful training to the personnel involved in the diagnosis and management of acute respiratory illness at the Yogyakarta hospitals and health centres.

The positive outcomes of these studies may signal the initiation of a vitamin D supplementation trial from birth, potentially preventing children from developing vitamin D deficiency or acute respiratory illness like pneumonia.

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