Low Vitamin D Linked to Asthma in Children

Byron's Comments:

A lack of vitamin D sets the stage for excessive and inappropriate levels of inflammation - which can readily manifest in children as asthma.

Study Title:

Childhood asthma may be a consequence of vitamin D deficiency.

Study Abstract:

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Vitamin D deficiency has been rediscovered as a public-health problem worldwide. It has been postulated that vitamin D deficiency may explain a portion of the asthma epidemic. The purpose of this review is to present the evidence for a role of vitamin D in asthma.

RECENT FINDINGS: Both animal models and studies in human fetal tissues show that vitamin D plays a role in fetal lung growth and maturation. Epidemiologic studies have also suggested that higher prenatal vitamin D intakes have a protective role against wheezing illnesses in young children. Vitamin D may protect against wheezing illnesses through its role in upregulating antimicrobial proteins or through its multiple immune effects. In addition, vitamin D may play a therapeutic role in steroid resistant asthmatics, and lower vitamin D levels have recently been associated with higher risks for asthma exacerbations.

SUMMARY: Improving vitamin D status holds promise in primary prevention of asthma, in decreasing exacerbations of disease, and in treating steroid resistance. However, the appropriate level of circulating vitamin D for optimal immune functioning remains unclear. Because vitamin D deficiency is prevalent even in sun-replete areas, clinical trials are needed to definitively answer questions about the role of vitamin D in asthma.

Study Information:

Litonjua AA. Childhood asthma may be a consequence of vitamin D deficiency. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol.  2009 June 9(3):202-7.
Channing Laboratory and Pulmonary and Critical Care Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

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