A recent research made by Cochrane Collaboration showed that Vitamin D supplements can reduce the incidence of severe asthma attacks by 50%.
Cochrane Collaboration is an international and independent network of health professionals, researchers, and patients who joined hands to review studies and scientific researches to be able to offer patients evidence-based treatments.
Mr. Adrian Martineau, researcher at Queen Mary University, said that he and his colleagues were surprised by the results of the study. The previous studies missed the effects that vitamin D has on asthma. Still, thanks to a combined analysis, the protective effect of this vitamin was finally discovered.
It was already known that vitamin D plays an important role in preserving one’s health. Still, in the 1980s, scientists discovered that the receptors for this vitamin are found throughout our bodies, so they began thinking that they have a role in the respiratory and immune health.
In time, many studies have confirmed that this vitamin does affect the immune regulation. Individuals with low levels of vitamin D have a higher incidence of autoimmune diseases, such as asthma and allergies. Asthma patients with a decreased level of vitamin D are more prone to developing asthma attacks.
Researchers also analyzed severe asthma symptoms, such as those requiring hospitalization, emergency room visits or oral corticosteroid treatment. They discovered that people who were administered vitamin D supplements had 50% fewer chances to suffer from asthma attacks that were severe enough to require hospital admission or emergency room visits. On the other hand, the vitamin has no effect on the common asthma symptoms.
Vitamin D fights inflammation and infection
Because of the studies that have already been made, scientists were not able to prove if vitamin D supplements helped all patients or just the ones who were vitamin D deficient. Now, Cochrane Collaboration plans to review all the initial studies, hoping that they will be able to indicate how this vitamin can reduce the risks of severe attacks in patients suffering from asthma.
Some studies also showed that vitamin D could suppress inflammatory responses, among which those that produce asthma attacks. The vitamin also induces an immune response when the body detects an infection in the upper respiratory system (flu or cold). These viruses are also leading causes of asthma attacks.
Mr. Adrian Martineau added that these studies should not be taken for granted by people who have asthma. The results were gathered from three trials mostly made on adult patients with mild asthma. More studies are to be made on children and adults who have severe asthma. Also, it is not yet clear if vitamin D supplements can reduce the incidence of asthma attacks in all patients or just the ones with a deficiency in this vitamin.
Although further analyses and researches are needed, the results are promising for those who try to find a solution to ease asthma attacks. Even if vitamin D supplements will prove beneficial in all patients, they should also continue taking the standard asthma medication.