People with moderate asthma can cut their risk of suffering a severe asthma attack by taking oral Vitamin D supplements along with their standard asthma medication, suggests a new study. According to the study, vitamin D supplements can cut the risk of life-threatening asthma attacks by half.
Conventional wisdom says that Vitamin D supplements strengthens the bones and muscles. Now the new study adds to the potential health benefits of this vital supplement saying it also protects against respiratory problems.
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) in the UK saw a 50 percent reduction in the risk of people experiencing at least one severe asthma attack requiring Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department attendance or hospitalization. And they saw a 30 per cent reduction in attacks requiring treatment with steroids.
For the study, the QMUL research team analysed 955 participants in seven previous randomised controlled trials that tested the use of vitamin D supplements.
They found that vitamin D supplementation resulted in a 30 percent reduction in the number of asthma sufferers requiring treatment with steroid tablets or injections. This vitamin supplementation was also found to halve the risk of experiencing at least one asthma attack requiring A&E attendance – dropping from 6 percent to 3 percent in people taking this vital vitamin.
Lead researcher Professor Adrian Martineau of Queen Mary University London, said: “These results add to the ever growing body of evidence that vitamin D can support immune function as well as bone health. On average, three people in the UK die from asthma attacks every day.”
Based on their findings, the study authors say vitamin supplements are a cheap and effective way of bringing down the soaring rate of potentially deadly attacks.
“Vitamin D is safe to take and relatively inexpensive so supplementation represents a potentially cost-effective strategy to reduce this problem,” Prof. Martineau said.
Asthma and pregnancy
In the United States, at least 25 million are reported to have asthma, and nearly seven million of these are children. Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes inflammation and narrowing in the airways. Its symptoms include recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. It is incurable, although most asthmatic people are able to manage the disease.
A study from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that women with asthma have more chances of developing pregnancy and childbirth complications. The study revealed that they have higher chances of having pre-eclampsia, a medically-necessary cesarean section, an underweight baby, and a short pregnancy.
“Asthma causes these complications. This means that [a] well-controlled asthma during pregnancy could reduce the relative incidence of complications during pregnancy and childbirth,” explained Gustaf Rejnö, lead author of the study.
The study, published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, examined 1,075,153 pregnancies from more than 700,000 women from 2001 to 2013, in which about 10.1 percent had asthma. Data of pregnancy outcomes, and any prescribed drugs, or asthma diagnoses were collected.
“Four percent of all pregnant women develop pre-eclampsia. We found that the risk of pre-eclampsia is 17 percent higher in women with asthma compared to women without asthma,”
Asthma deaths are caused mainly due to worsening of symptoms, often caused during viral upper respiratory infections, known as attacks or ‘exacerbations.’ An oral Vitamin D supplement is believed to protect against such attacks by boosting immune responses to respiratory viruses and reducing harmful airway inflammation.