New Meta-Analysis Indicates Vitamin D May Reduce Asthma Attacks

Announced at the European Respiratory Society’s International Congress in London, a new meta-analysis published in the Cochrane Library seems to show that vitamin D, in conjunction with standard asthma care, may reduce incidence of asthma attacks.

Announced at the European Respiratory Society’s International Congress in London, a new meta-analysis published in the Cochrane Library seems to show that vitamin D, in conjunction with standard asthma care, may reduce incidence of asthma attacks.

The report reviewed seven different double-blind, placebo-controlled trials involving a total of 658 adults and 435 children. The studies, all deemed high-quality, showed a drop in asthma attacks per year from 0.44 to 0.28 per person. The risk of suffering an asthma attack that required hospitalization dropped from 6% to 3%.

No adverse side effects were reported across the 7 studies.

The study’s conclusion states that “Vitamin D is likely to offer protection against severe asthma attacks.” A press release that accompanied the study balanced optimism and caution, quoting the Cochrane Review’s lead author, Adrian Martineau from the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research, Queen Mary University of London. Martineau points out that only three of the seven studies focused on severe asthma, and the findings mostly related to those with mild or moderate symptoms.

“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,” Martineau said, continuing that, “Further analyses to investigate this questions are on-going, and results should be available in the next few months."

Asthma impacts 300 million people worldwide. Previous studies have correlated low blood levels of vitamin D with asthma and wheezing in various populations, though other studies and expert opinions have disputed the correlation.

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