Vitamin D Health Asthma

Asthma is a common health condition in both children and adults – it’s estimated that asthma affects about 300 million people globally. People with asthma experience inflamed airways in their lungs, which can make breathing difficult.

Common asthma symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing.

The causes of asthma are complex and not completely understood. Doctors are currently studying the role vitamin D might play in the development of the disease. Because vitamin D appears to play an important role in regulating the body’s immune function, doctors think that there might be a connection between vitamin D deficiency and asthma development.

The Relationship Between Vitamin D and Asthma

Some scientists have speculated that low vitamin D levels might be one factor contributing to increasing incidence of allergies and asthma. One study found that there was a 40 percent reduction in asthma risk among the young children of mothers who got high levels of vitamin D while pregnant. And some researchers have observed that there is some overlap between groups who often have low vitamin D levels (such as African-Americans), and high incidence of asthma.

One recent study (published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Clinical Care Medicine) also indicated a possible link between vitamin D levels and children’s health. In the study, children with low vitamin D were found to have more severe asthma than children who had adequate intake of the vitamin. In 2005, a study found that people whose asthma did not respond well to steroid treatments might benefit from taking vitamin D. The researchers found that vitamin D seemed to help patients with steroid-resistant asthma better respond to steroid pills.

Despite a variety of studies that indicate a relationship between vitamin D and asthma, there is as yet no conclusive evidence that vitamin D deficiency is responsible for the development of this disease. Scientists are currently continuing to research the connection between asthma and vitamin D. One current study is examining the relationship between vitamin D, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Another study will look at whether giving pregnant women high doses of vitamin D might prevent asthma and allergies in their children.

Will Vitamin D Cure My Asthma?

There is no cure for asthma. If you suffer from asthma, you should continue your treatment as prescribed by your doctor. However, given the known benefits of adequate vitamin D intake, you should consider whether you are getting enough of this nutrient. Current recommendations suggest that people get between 200 and 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D each day, depending on their age. However, if you have dark skin, live in a northern climate, are obese or have certain other risk factors, you might have a vitamin deficiency. If you are in one of these groups, you may need to take extra steps to supplements your vitamin D intake.

Resources

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma