More vitamin D may mean less puffs on the inhaler for millions of people with asthma according to a new Israeli study. Researchers at Tel Aviv University found that asthmatics with vitamin D deficiency are 25 percent more likely to experience acute attacks.
The research was published in the journal Allergy and noted on sciencedaily.com. It echoes a previous U.K. study that identified a mechanism through which vitamin D can significantly reduce asthma symptoms.
The number of asthma cases in the U.S. has more than doubled since 1980, according to the National Institutes of Health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 18.9 million adults and 7.1 million children have asthma.
Dr. Ronit Confino-Cohen of Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Meir Medical Center, and the Clalit Research Institute, and Dr. Becca Feldman of the Clalit Research Institute led a team of researchers who drew on the records of four million patients and used physician diagnoses, rather than self-reports, for evidence of asthma episodes. Of 21,000 asthma Israeli asthma patients identified, those with a vitamin D deficiency were 25 percent more likely than other asthmatics to have had at least one flare-up in the recent past. Researchers also found that vitamin D-deficient asthmatics were at a higher risk of an attack.
"Our results add more evidence to the link between Vitamin D and asthma, suggesting beneficial effects of Vitamin D on asthma exacerbations," said Confino-Cohen in a university release. "We expect that further prospective studies will support our results. In the meantime, our results support a recommendation for screening of Vitamin D levels in the subgroup of asthma patients who experience recurrent exacerbations. In those with Vitamin D deficiency, supplementation may be necessary."
"We know a lot about this disease and many therapeutic options are available. So it's quite frustrating that the prevalence of asthma is not decreasing and many patients suffer exacerbations and significant impairment in their quality of life," Dr. Confino-Cohen, an allergy and clinical immunology specialist, said. "Increasing Vitamin D levels is something we can easily do to improve patients' quality of life."