A new study finds asthmatics with Vitamin D deficiency are 25 percent more likely to experience acute attacks.
Asthma, which inflames and narrows the airways, has become more common in recent years. While there is no known cure, asthma can be managed with medication and by avoiding allergens and other triggers. Another tactic: measuring and, if need be, boosting Vitamin D levels could help manage asthma attacks. Vitamin D has significant immunomodulatory effects and, as such, was believed to have an effect on asthma -- an immunologically mediated disease.
The researchers analyzed the medical records of nearly 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. Researchers also took into account key predictors of asthma, such as obesity, smoking and other chronic diseases.
Of some 21,000 asthma patients studied, those with a Vitamin D deficiency were 25 percent more likely than other asthmatics to have had at least one flare-up in the recent past.
The researchers found that Vitamin D-deficient asthmatics were at a higher risk of an asthma attack. "Uncontrolled asthma" was defined as being prescribed at least five rescue inhalers, one prescription of oral corticosteroids, or visiting the doctor for asthma at least four times in a single year.
While most of the Vitamin D in people's bodies comes from exposure to the sun, dermatologists recommend obtaining the ingredient from other sources -- fish, eggs, cod liver oil, fortified milk or a supplement -- due to the dangers of overexposure to the sun.
Based on the findings, the researchers recommend that people whose asthma cannot be controlled with existing treatments have their Vitamin D levels tested. For those with a vitamin D deficiency, supplements may make sense.
Source: Allergy, 2014.
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