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Tuesday
Apr292014

More Vitamin D In Your Diet Shown To Alleviate Asthma Symptoms, Say Multiple Studies

National Jewish Health, a nonprofit hospital specializing in respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders, has now completed several studies showing patients with low vitamin D as predisposed to developing asthma during infancy and childhood, and low vitamin D contributing to increased severity of asthma attacks.

In one study, NJH found that low vitamin D levels are associated with worse asthma symptoms and the requirement for more medication. Among the findings were that low levels of vitamin D were “associated with reduced lung function and less response to steroid medications.”

The researchers evaluated 54 adults with persistent asthma and “found that higher levels of vitamin D were associated with better lung function. In cells taken from the patients, higher levels of vitamin D were also associated with increased responsiveness to the steroid dexamethasone.”

In another NJH study, researchers found similar results for the effectiveness of corticosteroids. The researchers performed a series of laboratory experiments which “indicated vitamin D enhances the actions of corticosteroids.

“They cultured some immune cells with the corticosteroid dexamethasone alone and others with vitamin D first, then dexamethasone. The vitamin D significantly increased the effectiveness of dexamethasone. In one experiment vitamin D and dexamethasone together were more effective than 10 times as much dexamethasone alone.”

“Our work suggests that vitamin D enhances the anti-inflammatory function of corticosteroids,” said Dr. Donald Leung, a senior author in this study.

Further research from NJH has suggested that “vitamin D in asthma patients could improve control and/or allow for lower medication does.” There researchers are working on developing clinical research protocols to evaluate vitamin D supplementation in asthma patients.

“If future studies confirm these findings, vitamin D may help asthma patients achieve better control of their respiratory symptoms with less medication,” said Leung.

The effectiveness of vitamin D would be an important benefit because according to NJH, “individual patients respond differently to the medications, and a substantial number do not achieve optimal control despite high doses of inhaled steroids.”

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