Asthma has become more common in the last several years. Many patients have managed their asthma with medication and avoiding environmental triggers.
According to a new review published 4 days ago, taking a vitamin D supplement in addition to standard asthma medication can reduce severe asthma attacks.
Low serum vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of asthma. In this review, researchers found 7 trials and 2 studies including 1,093 patients which were conducted over 6 to 12 months. The researchers found that vitamin D supplementation reduced the risk of severe asthma attacks requiring hospital admission as wells as reduced the need for steroid tablets.
It is important to note that the vitamin D did not improve lung function or day-to-day asthma symptoms but significantly reduced the risk of severe asthma attacks without side effects.
There was a previous study published 2 years ago that I shared from the journal Allergy which demonstrated that vitamin D could help manage asthma attacks. Researchers analyzed the medical records of approximately four million members of Clalit Health Services, Israel's largest health care provider. The vitamin D levels of 307,900 people were measured between 2008 and 2012. Asthma patients with a vitamin D deficiency were 25% more likely than other asthmatics to have had at least one flare-up in the recent past.
We know vitamin D has significant immunomodulatory effects and it has been shown to have an effect on asthma.
These results demonstrate the link between vitamin D and asthma and the beneficial effects of vitamin D in reducing exacerbations. Asthma patients who experience recurrent exacerbations should have their vitamin D levels checked and supplement when necessary. Increasing vitamin D levels is something we can easily do to improve the patients' quality of life.
While most of the vitamin D in our bodies comes from exposure to the sun, most of us need to obtain vitamin D from other sources. The majority of us are deficient and there are several reasons for that. Many people avoid the sun due to the dangers of overexposure. In addition, most of us spend so much time inside under fluorescent lights and away from natural light. Also, depending on what latitude you are at and the time of year, you may not be able to get adequate vitamin D from the sun. For those people that spend a lot of time in the sun, most have eighty percent of their bodies covered, preventing optimal vitamin D absorption.
By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS
Source: Adrian R Martineau, Christopher J Cates, Mitsuyoshi Urashima, Megan Jensen, Alex P Griffiths, Ulugbek Nurmatov, Aziz Sheikh, Chris J Griffiths. Vitamin D for the management of asthma. Cochrane Library, 2016 DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD011511.pub2