Can Vitamin D Cure Asthma? Vitamin D and asthma could be connected according to research carried out by the Airways Group.

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Research shows that vitamin D can significantly reduce the risk of severe asthma attacks. The study Cochrane reports that vitamin D supplements halve the risk of serious attacks when used alongside normal asthma treatment.

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. It aids the development of at least 35 tissues and white blood cells, and enhances bone development. Vitamin D boosts immunity against other illnesses and prevents inflammation. Vitamin D is also said to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Can Vitamin D Cure Asthma?

The research study involved nine trials with 1,093 people (including children and adults) with different levels of asthma. The sample group ranged from different ethnic backgrounds and were given different dosages over a 6-12 month period.

The results showed that:

  • Taking vitamin D supplements lowered the risk of serious asthma attacks requiring a hospital admission or a visit to A&E from 6% to 3%.

  • Asthma attacks requiring steroid treatment dropped from a rate of 0.44 to 0.28 attacks per person per year.

  • Vitamin supplements do not increase the risk of side effects, but did not improve lung function or everyday asthma symptoms in participants.

Global Prevalence of Asthma

  • It is estimated that 300 million people suffer from asthma worldwide. In 2001, 7.6% of the U.S population suffered from asthma, this number increased to 7.8% in 2017.

  • In the UK, 5.4 million people are being treated for asthma, that is 1 in 11 of the population.

  • Ireland has one of the highest rates of asthma in the world with almost 1 in 10 Irish people suffering from the condition.

  • Asthma attacks can be frightening for both children and adults. Some cases can be fatal. Symptoms of asthma include breath shortage, coughing, wheezing and tightness in the chest.

  • A treatment that can cure asthma has long been the goal of Asthma Research. Professor of Respiratory Infection and Immunity, Adrian Martineau called the findings “an exciting result” but acknowledged “some caution is warranted” and further study is needed.

Limitations to the Study

While this study revealed positive results, it had some limitations, including:

  • It is not clear whether everybody with asthma would benefit, or just people who already have low levels of vitamin D.

  • It is not known what the recommended dose of Vitamin D is for people wanting to reduce their risk of asthma attacks.

  • Every patient in the study took vitamin D as well as their asthma treatment, not instead of it which could tamper with the conclusions.

  • The information for lowering numbers of childhood asthma attacks relies on one study of just 22 children. Better information is needed from a bigger study to be sure it is beneficial to children.

Should Asthma Patients Test Their Vitamin D Levels?

Dr Rebecca Normansell, a GP from the Cochrane body, says asthma patients are not routinely tested for their vitamin D levels, but following further study “it may be that that will be something that we should be considering as a reason to test vitamin D.” She advises asthma sufferers “to take the simple blood test to determine their vitamin D levels, and to talk to a GP or pharmacist for advice.”

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Written by Hannah Kingston | Approved by Medical Director Dominic Rowley