Healthy Aging Research

Healthy Aging Research
Open Access

ISSN: 2261-7434



Allergic rhinitis in the elderly: A pilot study of the role of vitamin D

Michele Columbo , Albert S. Rohr

Background: Allergic rhinitis in the elderly is poorly understood as very few studies have investigated this patient group. Vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency are very common, and vitamin D appears to play a role in respiratory disease. We studied the role of vitamin D in elderly subjects with perennial allergic rhinitis.

Methods: Fifteen subjects with symptomatic perennial allergic rhinitis (Total Nasal Symptom Score, TNSS ≥5 out of 12) received vitamin D (4,000 I.U./day) and placebo each for 6 weeks in a crossover design. TNSS (instantaneous and in the previous three weeks) and Rhinitis Related Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) were evaluated at five study visits (baseline, and 3, 6, 9, and 12 weeks later). Associations between serum vitamin D and demographics, TNSS, and RQLQ were also assessed.

Results: Baseline serum vitamin D was 29.7±10.6 ng/ml. After the six-week vitamin D supplementation, its serum levels increased significantly (to 39.7±8.9 ng/ml, p<0.01), whereas serum calcium remained unchanged. Instantaneous TNSS, three-week TNSS, and RQLQ were unchanged compared to placebo. There was no association between serum vitamin D and age, body mass index, duration of rhinitis, or medication score. However, in subjects with poorly controlled nasal symptoms, there was a significant inverse association with serum vitamin D and the three-week TNSS (r=-0.81, p=0.008).

Conclusions: Vitamin D supplementation for six weeks did not improve nasal symptoms or RQLQ in elderly subjects with perennial allergic rhinitis. These results and the inverse association between vitamin D and nasal symptoms will require confirmation in larger studies.