Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data
One article on PainSci cites Martineau 2017: Vitamin D for Pain
PainSci commentary on Martineau 2017: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.
Vitamin D deficiency is probably associated with frequent cold/flu, and some studies have shown that supplementation can reduce infection frequency and severity, especially in people with greater deficiency. This review of a couple dozen studies had a classic damned-with-faint-praise conclusion. If you only read the abstract, you’d think it was good news, because apparently D supplementation “reduced the risk of acute respiratory tract infection.” Unfortunately, the abstract doesn’t say how much it was reduced. The media reported only that appearance of great news, of course, while an editorial in the same issue by Mark Bolland and Alison Avenell quietly pointed out the boring truth:
The primary result is a reduction from 42% to 40% in the proportion of participants experiencing at least one acute respiratory tract infection. It seems unlikely that the general population would consider a 2% absolute risk reduction sufficient justification to take supplements.
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
OBJECTIVES: To assess the overall effect of vitamin D supplementation on risk of acute respiratory tract infection, and to identify factors modifying this effect.Design Systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data (IPD) from randomised controlled trials.
DATA SOURCES: Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science, ClinicalTrials.gov, and the International Standard Randomised Controlled Trials Number registry from inception to December 2015.Eligibility criteria for study selection Randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trials of supplementation with vitamin D3 or vitamin D2 of any duration were eligible for inclusion if they had been approved by a research ethics committee and if data on incidence of acute respiratory tract infection were collected prospectively and prespecified as an efficacy outcome.
RESULTS: 25 eligible randomised controlled trials (total 11 321 participants, aged 0 to 95 years) were identified. IPD were obtained for 10 933 (96.6%) participants. Vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of acute respiratory tract infection among all participants (adjusted odds ratio 0.88, 95% confidence interval 0.81 to 0.96; P for heterogeneity <0.001). In subgroup analysis, protective effects were seen in those receiving daily or weekly vitamin D without additional bolus doses (adjusted odds ratio 0.81, 0.72 to 0.91) but not in those receiving one or more bolus doses (adjusted odds ratio 0.97, 0.86 to 1.10; P for interaction=0.05). Among those receiving daily or weekly vitamin D, protective effects were stronger in those with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels <25 nmol/L (adjusted odds ratio 0.30, 0.17 to 0.53) than in those with baseline 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels ≥25 nmol/L (adjusted odds ratio 0.75, 0.60 to 0.95; P for interaction=0.006). Vitamin D did not influence the proportion of participants experiencing at least one serious adverse event (adjusted odds ratio 0.98, 0.80 to 1.20, P=0.83). The body of evidence contributing to these analyses was assessed as being of high quality.
CONCLUSIONS: Vitamin D supplementation was safe and it protected against acute respiratory tract infection overall. Patients who were very vitamin D deficient and those not receiving bolus doses experienced the most benefit.
Specifically regarding Martineau 2017:
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
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