Vitamin D Takes the Edge Off Asthma
Taking vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of severe asthma attacks by half, experts have found. The study suggests that the supplements help reduce inflammation and keep viruses at bay.
Researchers at Queen Mary University of London found that asthma sufferers who took vitamin D supplements alongside their usual medication were 50 percent less likely to visit the A&E as a result of an asthma attack. They also found that vitamin D supplementation was linked to a 30 percent reduction in the need for steroids following an asthma attack.
"These results add to the ever-growing body of evidence that vitamin D can support immune function as well as bone health," said lead researcher Professor Adrian Martineau.
“Vitamin D is safe to take and relatively inexpensive so supplementation represents a potentially cost-effective strategy to reduce this problem.”
Asthma is one of the biggest health burdens across the globe, affecting approximately 300 million people, with 250,000 annual deaths attributed to the disease. Asthma deaths occur when symptoms worsen, often due to viral upper respiratory infections.
Vitamin D is believed to protect against asthma attacks by boosting immunity to respiratory viruses and alleviating harmful airway inflammation.
Despite having year-round sunny weather in South East Asia, most people do not get enough exposure as they either actively avoid the sun or spend most of their time indoors at home or in the office.
Fifteen minutes of skin exposure to the midday sun can generate enough vitamin D for a week. For those who work indoors for most of the day and are unable to get adequate sunshine, vitamin D can be obtained from milk, cheese, eggs, red meat and plenty of fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel).