Ear infections are almost a right of passage for young children these days. Ear tubes, along with tonsillectomy, are two of the most common procedures performed in the US every year. I’ve alluded to in the past that facial skeletal underdevelopment can predispose to middle ear and sinus problems. But how does vitamin D play a role in both ear infections and obstructive sleep apnea?
A recent study found that supplementing with vitamin D helped to reduce ear infections in children who were prone to recurrent infections. Another study found that adults with higher levels of obstructive sleep apnea were found to have significantly lower levels of vitamin D. While the first study didn’t explain the mechanism between higher levels of vitamin D and less frequent ear infections, it’s safe to assume that there may be a link between obstructive sleep apnea and middle ear infections. This would be consistent with what I describe in my sleep-breathing paradigm, where sleep-disturbed breathing can be directly or indirectly linked to a multitude of medical problems. There are anecdotal reports of vitamin D supplementation helping to treat obstructive sleep apnea, but I haven’t seen any randomized, prospective studies to date.
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, do you know if you have low vitamin D levels?