A new study found that low vitamin D status is associated with an increased risk of rotaviral diarrhea.
Rotavirus is a contagious virus that infects the gastrointestinal tract of almost all young children by the age of 5. Although not as common, older children and adults can also become infected with rotavirus. Symptoms often include severe diarrhea, vomiting, fever and abdominal pain. Extreme dehydration and loss of appetite can also occur, which poses the greatest threat to the health of young children.
Since vitamin D plays a vital role in the immune system, researchers were aimed to determine whether a relationship exists between low vitamin D levels and rotaviral diarrhea. They compared the vitamin D levels of 70 patients with rotaviral diarrhea to the vitamin D levels of 67 healthy controls.
The researchers found that vitamin D levels were significantly lower in the patients with rotaviral diarrhea compared to the healthy controls, with average vitamin D levels of 36.5 nmol/l (14.6 ng/ml) and 72.7 nmol/l (29.06 ng/ml), respectively. Furthermore, vitamin D deficiency (vitamin D status less than 50 nmol/l (20 ng/ml)) was associated with 6.3 times the odds of having rotaviral diarrhea.
The researchers concluded,
“This study proves that low vitamin D is associated with rotaviral diarrhea.”