Is a Vitamin D Deficiency Impacting Your Asthma?

Do you get enough Vitamin D on a daily basis? If not, you may find that this deficit is connected to a variety of health issues, including more severe asthma symptoms and difficulty controlling the condition with your prescribed medicines.

The Vitamin D and Asthma Connection

In recent years, there's been increasing attention paid to the importance of Vitamin D and body functioning. While most people associate this vitamin with strong bones, it's now been recognized that adequate Vitamin D serum levels are also necessary for other functions, including respiratory health. In fact, that's where the asthma link comes in.

The Latest Research on Vitamin D and Asthma

Researchers from National Jewish Health Center in Denver recently took a look at the connection between Vitamin D and the severity of patients' asthma symptoms and found some interesting correlations. First, they discovered that asthmatics with more extreme symptoms, including reduced lung function, increased airway sensitivity and less responsiveness to steroid treatment, were more likely to have low Vitamin D levels. This latter finding is particularly important, since it may help to explain why some asthmatics find their symptoms respond better to treatment interventions than others.

Where BMI Fits In

The researchers also learned that asthmatics with lower Vitamin D serum levels were more likely to have a higher body mass index (BMI), which indicates that the reduction in vitamin D may be one way that obesity and asthma are related.

Taking Vitamin D Supplements?

The scientists hypothesized that taking Vitamin D supplements may help to lessen the severity of asthma, although this theory has not yet been tested and further studies are needed to confirm whether this is indeed true.

These findings, which were included in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine in the winter of 2010, were based on the responses of 54 adults with asthma who participated in this study.

What this Means for You

If you have severe asthma and you find that corticosteroids don't seem to do enough to offer the relief you seek, you may want to talk to your doctor and find out if you might have low Vitamin D serum levels. If so, your doctor may recommend having you take Vitamin D supplements, since these can bring a number of health benefits that go well beyond helping to improve your respiratory system. You can also get plenty of sunlight, which is a natural source of Vitamin D, as well as making an effort incorporate things that are enriched with Vitamin D, such as milk and bread, into your diet.

Furthermore, if you're overweight and have a high BMI, you can also talk to your doctor about making some healthy lifestyle changes.  These may help to improve your asthma symptoms and at the same time, should also help you to look and feel better on so many different levels.


American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine