Vitamin D 'reduces severe asthma attacks'

In this frame grab from video provided by C-SPAN Rep. David Jolly R-Fla. holds a container of mosquitoes while speaking of the House floor on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday Sept. 7 2016.

What did the research involve?

Martineau and colleagues analyzed the data of nine studies - lasting between 6-12 months - that assessed how vitamin D supplementation influences asthma symptoms and asthma attacks.

Especially this time of the year, anyone suffering from asthma or lung allergies wishes a cure could be found.

They also examined the studies for anything that might have biased the results, and graded their findings as based on high-quality, moderate-quality or low-quality evidence. American and British patients helped the researchers with their studies, as well as patients from Japan, Poland, and India.

Asked for his opinion of the study, Len Horovitz, MD, of Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City told MedPage Today: "Everyone should be on vitamin D supplementation because vitamin D deficiency is epidemic unless you are a forester or a tennis pro".

What were the basic results?

The Cochrane review's lead author, Professor Adrian Martineau, said they found vitamin D "significantly reduced the risk of severe asthma attacks, without causing side effects".

In fact, the researchers found "high-quality" evidence that vitamin D can help keep asthma sufferers from ending up in the hospital due to acute asthma attacks.

However, vitamin D didn't improve lung function or asthma symptoms day-to-day. "So I would never say that it could not be involved in asthma as well".

How did the researchers interpret the results?

Severe asthma attacks have not been studied to the same extent.

Dr Erika Kennington, Asthma UK's Head of Research, said although the research shows promise, more evidence is needed to conclusively show whether Vitamin D can reduce asthma attacks and symptoms. Vitamin D had no effect on the percentage predicted forced expiratory volume in one second or Asthma Control Test scores.

Asthma attacks are frightening for adults and children alike, and can be fatal.

"It is important to remember that not every drug is suitable for every patient and if a patient has asthma, they shouldn't make any changes to their medication without first discussing it with their family doctor".

The risk of emergency visits was reduced from 6 percent to 3 percent. He explained: "We don't want people giving up taking their asthma treatment". Most people continued to take their usual asthma medication while participating in the studies.

The information for reducing numbers of childhood asthma attacks relies on one study of just 22 children.

"It is not yet clear whether vitamin D supplements can reduce risk of severe asthma attacks in all patients, or whether this effect is just seen in those who have low vitamin D levels to start with". If you suffer from asthma, then you know how hard and bad are asthma attacks.

He also warned against taking vitamin D without advice.

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