AURORA, Colo. (Nov. 16, 2016) – High doses of vitamin D reduce the incidence of acute respiratory illness (ARI) in older, long-term care residents, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
The findings of the clinical trial, published today in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, could help reduce one of the leading causes of serious illness, debilitation and death among patients in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
“After studying these patients for a year, we found a 40 percent reduction in acute respiratory illness among those who took higher doses of vitamin D,” said the study’s lead author, Adit Ginde, MD, MPH, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “Vitamin D can improve the immune system’s ability to fight infections because it bolsters the first line of defense of the immune system.”
Ginde said in older people that first line of defense is often impaired. But vitamin D can reinforce it and prevent illnesses like pneumonia, influenza and bronchitis. It may also prevent infections and exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) like emphysema.