Breathe: Can vitamin D levels affect asthma attacks?


According to the National Institutes of Health, some 25 million people in the United States, 7 million of them children, suffer from the chronic lung disease known as asthma. In these studies, researchers investigated the role healthy vitamin D levels may play in supporting the health in those fighting the disease.

Vitamin D reduces asthma attacks in adults and children

What is asthma?

In asthma, the smooth muscle walls that surround air passageways to the lungs swell, tighten, and inflame, restricting the flow of air. There are several asthma triggers including pollen, pets, mold, respiratory infection, smoke, exercise, and inhaling cold air.

Fewer emergency room visits

Low levels of vitamin D may increase chances for asthma attacks, but this is the first review of results from placebo-controlled asthma studies using vitamin D supplements. Doctors analyzed findings from seven studies covering 435 children, and two studies covering 658 adults, most with mild or moderate asthma, and fewer with severe asthma. Participants were ethnically diverse, coming from North America, Europe, and Asia, and studies lasted anywhere from four to 12 months.

Overall compared to placebo, those taking vitamin D saw the rate of asthma flare-ups requiring corticosteroid treatments decrease by 37 percent. Chances of being hospitalized or requiring an emergency room visit for severe asthmatic episodes declined by 61 percent, with the number of hospitalizations declining from 6 per 100 participants to 3 per 100 participants.
Reference: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews; 2016, Issue 9, Published Online

Fewer asthma flare-ups in kids with the common cold

This was a study of vitamin D and acute respiratory infections—the common cold—in children younger than 18. Doctors reviewed seven controlled vitamin D supplement trials covering both healthy kids and those with recurring acute respiratory infections. While vitamin D did not reduce the chances of respiratory infection, kids with asthma and colds who took vitamin D saw 72 percent fewer asthma flare-ups during the cold compared to kids with asthma who did not take vitamin D.
Reference: British Journal of Nutrition; October, 2015, Vol. 114, No. 7, 1026-34

Betsy’s Health Foods:  This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning a supplement, especially if you take medications or have a medical condition. For example, vitamin D may be contraindicated if you have hypercalcimia.

Article copyright 2016 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.