Asthma and Vitamin D

A recent article published in the Journal of Allergy & Clinical Immunology looked at the relationship between asthmatic children and vitamin D levels.  The study showed that 47% of the children studied had low levels of vitamin D.  In addition there was an inverse relationship between levels of vitamin D and allergy markers; high levels of IgE and positive allergy skin tests were associated with low levels of vitamin D.  It was also noted patients with low vitamin D levels had lower lung function tests.  The researchers concluded that there are 2 possibilities for this relationship;  lower vitamin D levels contribute to more severe asthma therefore patients require more steroid use.  Or vitamin D may affect the steroid effectiveness, and low levels of vitamin D cause the steroids be less effective, therefore patients require higher dosages.  In other laboratory studies, the anti-inflammatory effects of steroids are enhanced by adding vitamin D to cell cultures.  Currently there are more studies underway to investigate this relationship between vitamin D and its anti-inflammatory effects.

I would recommend to my patients to continue to eat a healthy diet and encourage them to drink 3 glasses of milk to ensure that they have enough vitamin D in their diet.

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