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Do Low Levels of Vitamin D Increase Incidence of Asthma Attacks?

9/3/2015 9:20:44 AM
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 5 prescriptions for short-acting beta agonists, or 4 visits or more to a physician to treat asthma. The research team analyzed data on 308,000 Israeli adults aged 22 years to 50 years who had at least 1 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 to 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.

Source: Confino-Cohen R, Brufman I, Goldberg A, et al. Vitamin D, asthma prevalence and asthma exacerbations: a large adult population-based study. Allergy. 2014;69(12):1673-1680.