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.
Further research is needed before specific recommendations can be made.
Status: not currently available
Related Cochrane reviews
Vitamin A for non-measles pneumonia in children
Vitamin A for preventing acute lower respiratory tract infections in children up to seven years of age
Other related systematic reviews
Vitamin A for acute respiratory infection in developing countries: a meta-analysis.
Vitamin A supplementation and childhood morbidity from diarrhea and respiratory infections: A meta-analysis.