A recent Cochrane review suggests that vitamin D supplementation could help prevent serious asthma attacks if it is paired with conventional medication. Study authors couldn’t tell, however, whether supplementation benefits only vitamin D deficient patients.
Researchers recently said that they’ll need to conduct more research before they can officially advise patients. In the meantime, asthma patients should seek their GPs’ counsel if they plan to go for supplementation.
Lead author Adrian Martineau noted that vitamin D supplements reduced the incidence of serious asthma attacks with no side-effects. Supplementation led to a 3 percent to 6 percent reduction in severe asthma attacks rates.
Researchers defined “severe” attacks as those which required hospitalization or a trip to A&E. The study also revealed that the annual rate of asthma attacks sank from 0.44 to 0.22 for each study participant.
On the other hand, the team didn’t find evidence vitamin D could improve lung function or other asthma symptoms.
Vitamin D’s Importance
According to the study’s background information, the body produces vitamin D, or the “Sunshine Vitamin,” when expose it to sunlight. People can obtain the vitamin from dietary sources too such as eggs, fortified cereals, and oily fish.
According to a recent study, 20 percent of Britons and 40 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency has been often tied to higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and even cancer.
Medics explained that people end up being vitamin D deficient in winter, if they spent too much time indoors or if they live in less sunny countries. Sunshine exposure is critical for the body’s vitamin D supplies because there are few foods that contain the vitamin.
Additionally, few people use vitamin D supplements, and when they do, they often get the wrong type of vitamin D. Experts recommend vitamin D3 as for superior absorption.
In the latest analysis, researchers sifted through data from nine clinical trials involving more than 450 children and two separate studies on nearly 700 adults. The adult participants had either mild or moderate asthma.
Study authors acknowledged that their research is limited by the small cohort of underage asthma patients and lack of data on those with severe asthma. Researchers announced that they are conducting a separate study which should be due in the next few months.
In the U.K., authorities recently advised population to take vitamin D supplements at least in fall and winter seasons.
According to a comprehensive study, everyone from age one to 99 should take 10 micrograms of the vitamin on a daily basis for healthy muscle and bones. In winter, if it is impossible to take that dose from diet alone, people should consider supplementation.
The reviewed clinical trials, however, involved larger doses i.e. 25 to 50 micrograms per day.
Dr. Erika Kennington from Asthma UK hailed the new findings but cautioned that there’s the need for more research. Dr. Kennington explained that there are many types of asthma out there, so vitamin D pills could benefit only some patients.
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