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Vitamin D reduced bacterial infection in cows – RCT Sept 2013

Treatment of an Intramammary Bacterial Infection with 25-Hydroxyvitamin D3

PLOS One PDF is attached at the bottom of this page
John D. Lippolis john.lippolis at ars.usda.gov, Timothy A. Reinhardt, Randy A. Sacco, Brian J. Nonnecke, Corwin D. Nelson

Deficiency of serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 has been correlated with increased risk of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and influenza. A plausible reason for this association is that expression of genes encoding important antimicrobial proteins depends on concentrations of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 produced by activated immune cells at sites of infection, and that synthesis of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is dependent on the availability of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3. Thus, increasing the availability of 25(OH)D3 for immune cell synthesis of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 at sites of infection has been hypothesized to aid in clearance of the infection. This report details the treatment of an acute intramammary infection with infusion of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 to the site of infection.

Ten lactating cows were infected with in one quarter of their mammary glands.
Half of the animals were treated intramammary with 25-hydroxyvitamin D3.
The 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 treated animal showed significantly lower bacterial counts in milk and showed reduced symptomatic affects of the mastitis.

It is significant that treatment with 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 reduced the severity of an acute bacterial infection.
This finding suggested a significant non-antibiotic complimentary role for 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in the treatment of infections in compartments naturally low in 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 such as the mammary gland and by extension, possibly upper respiratory tract infections.


  1. Daily feed of all of the cows contained 30,000 - 40,000 IU vitamin D
    Since a cow weighs about 800 libs, the equivalent intake of vitamin D for a human would be about 8,000 IU
    Has been known for a long time that vets give far more vitamin D to animals than doctors give to people - vets are paid to keep their patients healthy
  2. 40,000 IU vitamin D twice a day injected in infected mammary glands of half of the cows
    Interesting - injected at the site of the infection, not just in the blood, or consumed.
  3. Would like to compare the use of vitamin D to the use of antibiotics in cows

See also VitaminDWiki

Attached files

ID Name Comment Uploaded Size Downloads
2978 Bacteria count.jpg admin 10 Sep, 2013 34.46 Kb 1602
2977 Bacterial infection in cows.pdf admin 10 Sep, 2013 428.15 Kb 851