e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Vitamin A supplementation in children with respiratory infections

Pneumonia is a severe form of acute lower respiratory tract infection and is the leading cause of death among children under 5 years of age worldwide. Vitamin A deficiency is also a public health problem in many parts of the world, particularly Africa and South-East Asia. Vitamin A deficiency can cause visual impairment in the form of night blindness and may increase the risk of illness and death from childhood infections, including measles and those causing diarrhoea.

Vitamin A is essential to help combat infections in childhood and clinical trials have demonstrated that vitamin A supplementation reduces the severity of respiratory infections and mortality in children with measles. However results from studies in children without measles suggest that vitamin A has little protective effect except in children suffering from acute or chronic malnutrition, where some benefit of vitamin A supplementation has been observed.

WHO recommendations

Further research is needed before specific recommendations can be made.

WHO documents

GRC-approved guidelines

Status: not currently available


Related Cochrane reviews
Other related systematic reviews
Clinical trials

Last update:

2 October 2015 08:51 CEST

Category 2 intervention

Systematic review(s) have been conducted but no recent guidelines yet available that have been approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee


There is not yet any implementation information related to this intervention in GINA