Photo of a child with an asthma inhaler
A low vitamin D status in asthma sufferers greatly increases the risk of severe asthma attacks

Asthma worsens with vitamin D deficiency

7 August, 2012

Natural Health News — A new study has found that that a low vitamin D status may worsen asthma symptoms.

There are approximately 5.1 million asthma sufferers in the UK, and this number is growing. Coming from the Greek word meaning ‘hard breathing,’ asthma sufferers have sensitive airways and inflamed lining of the bronchi within the lungs.

There is no single cause of asthma, but certain factors, including your environment and a family history of asthma can increase the likelihood of developing it.

For people who suffer from asthma, the disease is generally manageable, but a new study published in American journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine has found that for asthma sufferers, a deficiency of vitamin D could lead to worsened symptoms.

Researchers from the Department of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh conducted a study of 560 children from Puerto Rico with the aim of examining whether vitamin D deficiency is associated with worsened asthma symptoms.

Their research measured plasma vitamin D in the children and found that vitamin D insufficiency was common, 44% in children with, and 47% in children without asthma. In their analysis, vitamin D deficiency was associated with higher risk of more than one severe asthma attack per year.

The authors condluded that a lack of vitamin D was significantly associated with severe exacerbations of asthma symptoms in the children, regardless of racial ancestry or disease severity.

Previous studies agree

There have been a number of other previous studies conducted on the link between a lack of vitamin D and severity of asthma:

  • A 2009 study of 1024 North American children found a similar number, 35%, to be lacking in vitamin D, and it was also found that regardless of BMI, household income, age or sex, a deficiency of vitamin D led to much higher odd of a severe attack over a 4-year period.
  • Another 2009 study investigating 600 Costa Rican children also found lower vitamin D levels led to a higher risk of hospitalisation from asthma related symptoms. An interesting factor of the study is the link between inactivity and lower vitamin D levels. This is because 90% of all vitamin D circulating the body is produced in response to sun exposure. The study suggests that inactivity, rather than inadequate dietary intake, was a primary cause of the deficiency.