Do low levels of vitamin D increase the incidence of asthma attacks?

Clinicians would be well advised to monitor the vitamin D levels of their asthmatic patients and to encourage supplementation for those whose levels are low

Research published in the journal Allergy suggests that asthmatic patients with low vitamin D levels have increased risk of suffering asthma attacks.

This was an adult population-based study to tease out the relationship between low vitamin D status and the prevalence of asthma as well as asthma exacerbations.

Asthma exacerbations were defined as an episode that required a prescription for oral corticosteroids, more than five prescriptions for short-acting beta agonists or four visits or more to a physician to treat asthma.

The research team analysed data on 308,000 Israeli adults aged 22 to 50 years who had at least one vitamin D serum measurement in their medical histories. Of this population, 6.9% were identified as having physician-diagnosed asthma, which is higher than the 5.7% of the general population who have asthma.

There was no significant association between vitamin D status and asthma. Interestingly, however, the odds of experiencing asthma exacerbations were 25% greater among the vitamin D-deficient participants as compared with those with vitamin D levels in the normal range.

While further research into the relationship between asthma and vitamin D deficiency is warranted at this time, clinicians would be well advised to monitor the vitamin D levels of their asthmatic patients and to encourage supplementation for those whose levels are low.

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