A large study has found that low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of asthma flare-ups. Published in the journal, Allergy, the study examined data from approximately 308,000 adults whose vitamin D levels had been measured, and identified 21,237 as diagnosed asthma patients. Researchers took into account variables that might affect asthma status, such as obesity, smoking, and other diseases. Here’s what they discovered:
Flare-ups were 25% more likely in asthma patients who were vitamin D deficient compared to asthma patients whose levels were in the normal range. A flare-up, or exacerbation, was defined as requiring a prescription for oral corticosteroids, or more than five prescriptions for short-acting beta agonists, or a physician’s visit for asthma four or more times in a year.
The researchers did not find, however, that vitamin D levels were associated with an increased risk of having asthma in general.
While previous research on vitamin D and asthma has been inconsistent, the researchers believe that the new findings support vitamin D screening in asthma patients with recurrent and uncontrolled flare-ups—and possibly recommending supplements to those who are vitamin D deficient.