Apply caution to latest vitamin D study

Infectious diseases

By Nicola Garrett

21 Feb 2017

Experts have thrown cold water over the findings of a recent meta-analysis that concluded the prevention of acute respiratory tract infection was a “major new indication” for vitamin D supplementation.

Writing in an editorial in The BMJ Associate Professor Mark Bolland from the University of Auckland and Alison Avenell from the University of Aberdeen in the UK were commenting on an analysis of 25 trials that reported a 12% reduction in the odds of a respiratory tract infection (RTI) in people who were taking supplements.

However, according to the Professors, the findings must be treated with caution and should not change clinical practice.

They note that in absolute terms the primary result of a reduction in RTIs seen in the analysis was from 42% to 40% in patients who experienced at least one acute RTI.

“It seems unlikely that the general population would consider a 2% absolute risk reduction sufficient justification to take supplements,” they wrote.

“The results are heterogenous and not sufficiently applicable to the general population.”

Instead, the findings should be treated as hypothesis generating only, and need to be confirmed is well designed adequately powered randomised controlled trials, they added.

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