Vitamin D: A boon for Asthama Patients

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Vitamin D and Asthma link

Asthma is a condition where the basic need of living, i.e. breathing is affected. The airways gets filled with mucus and it becomes difficult to breathe. The main cause for an asthma attack is the swelling of the airways or if they become narrower.

As per the recent study, it is seen that taking Vitamin D as a supplement may reduce the risk of an asthma attack by half.

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Vitamin D Benefits:

Vitamin D is beneficial in many ways. It is also referred as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ as it is produced by SUN. When the body is exposed to the Sun, it produces vitamin D. It helps to fight against many diseases such as cancer, type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis.

It is extremely beneficial for the human body. Proper intake of vitamin D leads to:

  • Healthy bones and teeth
  • Healthy brain, immune system, and nervous system
  • Regulated levels of insulin and proper management of diabetes
  • Proper functioning of lungs and heart
  • Reduces the risk of cancer

Vitamin D Deficiency Risk and Symptoms:

Although it’s a Sunshine Vitamin, but today’s lifestyle doesn’t allow people to get sufficient exposure to Sun. People in the cities, who are working in night shifts, stay indoors during the daytime. To protect the skin from getting damaged from the harmful ultraviolet rays, many Sunscreens with SPF are available in the market. No doubt, they protect the skin from the harmful rays but they also reduce the body’s ability to produce the production of vitamin D. The vitamin D production is hampered when the skin is not in direct contact with the sunlight.

As per the American Academy of Pediatrics, infants require vitamin D supplements, if they have a less exposure to Sun especially if they are dark-skinned. Therefore, oral vitamin D supplements are provided to them in the form of drops, specially made for infants.

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Deficiency Symptoms:

  • Often sickness or infection
  • Depression
  • Pain at the back, muscles or in bones
  • Hair Loss
  • Weakens the Wound Healing

Long Term effects are even worse:

  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis (brittle or fragile bones)
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (extreme tiredness)
  • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  • Obesity (overweight: BMI over 30)
  • Fibromyalgia (muscle or bone pain)
  • Neurodegenerative diseases

How Vitamin D is linked with Asthma:

It has been found that adding the oral vitamin D supplements with your normal asthma medication, can reduce the risk of asthma attacks by 50 percent.

When an asthma patient catches respiratory infections such as cold, mucus in the airways or swelling of airways, the chances of attacks increases.

According to the researchers, Vitamin D is able to protect such attacks by improving the immune system. The respiratory viruses are handled in a better way by the immune system and are capable enough to flush the harmful airway inflammation with the help of Vitamin D supplements.

Experiment:

The researchers of the Queen Mary University of London analyzed 995 asthmatic patients in 7 trials, in a randomized controlled way. They were given vitamin D supplements and tested the results. The experiment went from 6 months to 12 months. The patients who participated in the research and the studies were from different geographical regions such as Canada, India, Japan, Poland, UK and the US. The group contains majority of people having mild to moderate asthma and a minority was having severe asthma. The 7 trials involved 435 children while the 2 studies involved 658 adults. Therefore, the overall research was done including all age groups.

Results:

It was found that after providing vitamin D supplements, the risk of asthma attacks, especially the emergency cases reduced by 30%, which required steroid tablets or injections. It was also found that it is not helpful for the improvement of lung function or day-to-day asthma symptoms but at the same time, it was also found that there are no side effects of consuming the vitamin D supplements. Overall, there was a reduction of 50% in the cases asthma attacks which requiring hospitalization. The statistics were reduced to 3 percent from 6 percent. Therefore, it can be concluded from the studies, that it is helpful in long-term effects.

Adrian Martineau, a lead researcher and a professor at QMUL said, “These results add to the ever-growing body of evidence that vitamin D can support immune function as well as bone health.” He added, “Vitamin D is safe to take and relatively inexpensive so supplementation represents a potentially cost-effective strategy to reduce this problem.”

Natural food for Vitamin D:

Apart from supplements or Sun Light, many natural foods are also available to provide the daily requirement of vitamin D to the body:

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  • Mushroom: Four times a week
  • Egg: Whole egg contributes to good health
  • Soy Milk: Provides the same amount of proteins as regular cow’s milk
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Herring: Fresh and raw
  • Swordfish: Cooked
  • Fortified skim milk
  • Chicken

Statements by Different researchers:

As per Dr. Pooja, Asthma UK, “This is a promising area of research. But it is only one piece of a very large jigsaw and more evidence is needed.”

Adrian Martineau, QMUL, said, “On average, three people in the UK die from asthma attacks every day. Vitamin D is safe to take and relatively cost-effective strategy to reduce this problem.”

As per Martineau, the major results were from the adults with mild or moderate asthma. Therefore, the research is still going on to get the clear picture of its effects on the children and adults with severe asthma in major cases.

Overall, it can be concluded that vitamin D is capable to treat the asthma patients in the long run and its intake of vitamin D supplements does not provide any side effects.

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