Neonatal Vitamin D Deficiency Tied to Respiratory Disease

Routine vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy may prevent RSV during infancy

WEDNESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Healthy neonates with vitamin D deficiency are at a higher risk of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) lower respiratory tract infection (LRTI) in the first year of life, according to a study published online May 9 in Pediatrics.

Mirjam E. Belderbos, M.D., from the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues examined the relationship between plasma vitamin D concentrations at birth and the subsequent risk of RSV LRTI in the first year of life. RSV LRTI, as recorded by parents in a daily log and confirmed by the presence of RSV RNA in a nose-throat specimen, was correlated with concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) in cord blood plasma in 156 healthy term neonates.

The investigators found that 18 neonates developed RSV LRTI. Cord blood 25-OHD concentrations and maternal vitamin D3 supplementation during pregnancy were strongly correlated. Neonates who developed RSV LRTI had significantly lower concentrations of 25-OHD than those who did not (65 versus 84 nmol/L). The risk of RSV LRTI in neonates born with 25-OHD levels less than 50 nmol/L was six times higher than that of neonates born with 25-OHD levels greater than or equal to 75 nmol/L.

"Vitamin D deficiency in healthy neonates is associated with increased risk of RSV LRTI in the first year of life. Intensified routine vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy may be a useful strategy to prevent RSV LRTI during infancy," the authors write.

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