Research Indicates Vitamin D Supplementation May Be Effective Treatment of Symptoms for People with Sickle Cell

Research Indicates Vitamin D Supplementation May Be Effective Treatment of Symptoms for People with Sickle Cell

NEW YORK Oct. 27, 2020 – The approximately 100,000 Americans who suffer from sickle cell disease could have their symptoms alleviated with a daily high dose of vitamin D supplementation according to research published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care.

The research showed that daily high-dose vitamin D supplementation for African American children with and without type SS sickle cell disease improves health-related quality of life, muscle strength and physical performance suggesting that vitamin D supplementation may be an effective and feasible treatment for symptoms and prevention of complications for people with sickle cell disease.

“These findings highlight the beneficial effects of vitamin D supplementation for children’s physical and mental development and also suggest possible disease specific improvements in sickle cell disease with supplementation,” said lead author Kelly A. Dougherty, PhD.

Suboptimal vitamin D status is prevalent in African American children and young adults with and without sickle cell disease, so researchers recruited African American children aged 5–20 years with (n = 21) and without (n = 23) HbSS for the study. Subjects within each group (HbSS or healthy) were randomized in the Spring (April–May), Summer (June–August) or Fall and/or Winter (September–January) to oral daily doses (4,000 vs. 7,000 IU) of cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) using a double-blind design and evaluated at baseline, 6 and 12 weeks.

Improvements in hematology and inflammatory status and reductions in pain and fatigue were observed with supplementation in those with sickle cell disease. Significant improvement in neuromuscular motor skills, muscle power and torque with vitamin D supplementation was evident in both groups.

“Collectively, these findings highlight the need for full-scale randomized double-blind placebo controlled trials to test the impact of optimal D3 supplementation on clinically important outcomes in children and young adults with type SS sickle cell disease and their healthy counterparts,” said co-author Virginia A. Stallings, MD.

Also contributing to the study was Joan I. Schall, PhD, Chiara Bertolaso, MD and Kim Smith-Whitley, MD.

The findings were published in the September/October edition of Journal of Pediatric Health Care and can be accessed online.

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The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) is the nation’s only professional association for pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) dedicated to improving the quality of health care for infants, children, adolescents and young adults. Representing more than 8,000 healthcare practitioners with 18 special interest groups and 53 chapters, NAPNAP has been advocating for children’s health since 1973 and was the first APRN society in the U.S. Our mission is to empower pediatric-focused advanced practice registered nurses and key partners to optimize child and family health.

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