Breathe easier by getting vitamin D to push the asthma pump

vitamin D improves inhaled steroid functionYour kid is one of the 1 in 10 children, dealing with asthma.

The daily meds keep the immune cells semi-comatosed, so they don’t react and set off the avalanche of trouble, which ends up shutting the air out of the pipes.

Most days the problem is kept under control with the help of medications, most days….

Research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care suggests a spritz of vitamin D, could improve that inhaler’s power and potentially increase the number of days UNDER CONTROL.

Big D is big in the lungs

Traditionally vitamin D’s claim to fame has been as a major role player in bone health. But this sun loving, vitamin-cum-hormone plays in a number of other spaces including THE LUNGS ….

Vitamin D is big in lung immunity. People with asthma are having trouble with lung immunity.

Seems like there could be a connection ?

Investigating the asthma – vitamin D connection

The research team from Harvard enrolled 1024 kids, between the ages of 5 and 12, all suffering from mild to moderate persistent asthma. All the kids participating in the study were prescribed meds to keep their asthma under control, the med being investigated in this study was budesonide, an inhaled steroid.

At the start of the study, the vitamin D status of each child was assessed, along with their lung function. Lung function was determined by measuring how forcefully the child could breathe out i.e. forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1).

Based on the single vitamin D reading, the kids were categorized as being vitamin D

  • deficient (? 20 ng/ml),
  • insufficient (20-30 ng/ml),
  • sufficient (> 30 ng/ml).

NOTE : There is a little bit of a debate about what normal is, many experts would still consider a person to be insufficient if their level is < 40 ng/ml.

More vitamin D at the start more benefit

A year down the line, the kids FEV was re-assessed.

All the kids showed some improvement in their FEV, but the kids who had been vitamin D deficient at the start of the study, showed much smaller improvements.

Vitamin D deficient kids forced out on average 140 ml more air, compared to the other two groups which saw an improvement of 330 ml (vitamin D insufficient) and 290 ml (vitamin D sufficient) of air.

Aim to be Vitamin D sufficient

The results of this study confirm the importance of having the right amount of vitamin D i.e. being vitamin D sufficient, especially if you’re having breathing difficulties.

In today’s world, being a little low on vitamin D, seems to be the norm rather than the exception. Being overweight, having a darker skin colour and spending too little time under the sun, make you particularly vulnerable to the problem.

A simple, relatively cheap, blood test can reveal your status. And a little judicious sun tanning or vitamin D supplement, can restore your vitamin D levels to “normal”.

Breathe easier with the help of vitamin D

The study does not suggest vitamin D is going to cure asthma, but a little vitamin D alongside that inhaled steroid, might just boost the ability to breathe.

So Mom’s get vitamin D pushing down on your kid’s asthma inhaler.

The Effect of Vitamin D and Inhaled Corticosteroid Treatment on Lung Function in Children. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (2012) Ann Chen Wu, Kelan Tantisira, Lingling Li, Anne L. Fuhlbrigge, Scott T. Weiss,and Augusto Litonjua

Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind those vitamin D ?

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Further reading

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The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

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