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Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections

Feb 16th 2017- An article published in the British Medical Journal yesterday shows that Vitamin D supplementation protects against acute respiratory tract infections, especially in patients who are Vitamin D deficient.

You can read this article on line here.

Vitamin D deficiency is common in people with Rett Syndrome.

People with Rett Syndrome are also at increased risk of respiratory tract infections with breathing related problems including, lower respiratory infection, aspiration and respiratory failure being the leading cause of death in the disorder.

The good news is that multi vitamin supplements or commercial formulas can improve vitamin D levels.

If you are the parent or carer of a person with Rett Syndrome, and you haven’t already, please do speak to your GP about prescribing a multi-vitamin for that person.

Although Vitamin D levels can be tested in the blood, as there is already evidence that people with Rett Syndrome have an increased risk of Vitamin D deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency is a general concern for doctors UK-wide, testing may not be necessary for it to be considered reasonable to want to ensure that your person with Rett has a daily multi-vitamin, whether prescribed or over the counter.

Most people get little Vitamin D in their diet. Our main source of Vitamin D is sunshine. However, Vitamin D can only be made in our skin by exposure to sunlight when the sun is high in the sky. Therefore, in most of the UK from November to March, and in Scotland from October to April, Vitamin D can not be made from sunshine.

Vitamin D deficiency can cause symptoms that may not be immediately apparent, such as:

  • difficulty thinking clearly
  • bone pain
  • muscle weakness
  • soft bones that may result in deformities
  • unexplained fatigue

It can also contribute to low bone mineral density, with one study in 2013, estimating that 30% of girls and women with Rett have fractures by the age of 30.

You can find the Royal National Orthopaedic Hopsital’s Vitamin D dosage guide for children and young people here.

This includes general information about Vitamin D as well as information about over the counter vitamins for children and young people. As well as liquids and tablets, oral spray is also available.

Please note that Reverse Rett does not endorse any particular commercial products. You should always speak to your doctor before starting any new supplements for your child/adult family member with Rett Syndrome.