African American infants born prematurely are at higher risk for recurrent wheezing. This condition can cause the baby discomfort and is a risk factor for developing asthma later in life. There are no widely-accepted therapies to prevent prematurity-associated wheezing.
In a first-of-its-kind study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), an University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital (UH Rainbow) physician researcher found African American preterm infants experienced a significant decrease in recurrent wheezing with sustained supplementation of vitamin D. Among infants born at 28-36 weeks gestation, a daily dose of vitamin D through six months of age decreased recurrent wheezing by more than 10 percent.
Prior to conducting the study, it was unclear which vitamin D supplementation strategy would be superior. According to the study’s principal investigator, Anna Maria Hibbs, MD, MSCE, FAAP, Eliza Henry Barnes Chair in Neonatology at UH Rainbow, continuing vitamin D supplementation with 400IU/day until 6 months of age corrected for prematurity may decrease their chance of recurrent wheezing.
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