Vitamin D supplement may reduce risk of severe asthma attacks

Emobileclinic Researchers Corner 
The role of Vitamin D in the treatment of Asthma has been emphasized in a new study by researchers at Good news for people with asthma; adding vitamin D supplements to standard treatment may reduce the risk of severe asthma attacks. This is according to a recent study whose findings were presented at the 2016 International Congress of European Respiratory Society, Prof. Adrian Martineau and colleagues from the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research at Queen Mary University of London in the United Kingdom.


Asthma is a respiratory condition caused by swelling and blockage of the airways. The underlying factors responsible for this condition is still unclear, however, exposure to allergies and irritants from grass or weed pollen, dust mites, molds as well as smoke are some of the causes leading to symptoms like coughing, chest pain, shortness of breath and wheezing. Asthma is a life threatening condition with no known specific cure except the usage of medications to manage the symptoms

Interestingly, respite appear to have been seen as researchers recommend that adding vitamin D supplements to the treatment regimen for asthma patients could further reduce the risk of severe asthma attacks. The team is aware of previous studies that have associated low vitamin D levels with greater risk of asthma attacks in people with the respiratory condition. This is why the researchers attempted to examine if vitamin D supplementation can be of benefit to asthma patients.
In carrying out the study, the team analyzed data of nine studies spanning between 6-12 months that assessed the way vitamin D supplementation influences asthma symptoms and asthma attacks. Seven of the studies comprise 435 children, while two consist of 658 adults. Most of the participants experienced moderate to severe asthma, however, a small proportion had severe asthma. Standard treatment was used by majority of the subjects.

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There was a reduction from 6 percent to three percent in the risk of hospital admission due to severe asthma attacks of those who used oral vitamin D supplementation and no severe side effects were identified.
More importantly, the team discovered that vitamin D supplementation minimized the need for steroid treatment for asthma attacks which is administered to reduce airway swelling when a patient’s inhaler is no longer effective.
Martineau and colleagues note that primarily, there is need to examine whether vitamin D supplement will be effective in children and adult with severe asthma attack because the data used for the study were gotten from adult enrolment with mild to moderate asthma attack. It is also the considered opinion of the researchers that, there is no clear cut conclusion whether vitamin D can reduce the severe asthma attack in all patients or whether its effect is only evident in patients with low vitamin D.
The team says “further analyses to investigate these questions are ongoing, and results should be available in the next few months.”


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