Low Vitamin D Linked to Asthma in Children
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.
Childhood asthma may be a consequence of vitamin D deficiency.
Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol.
Channing Laboratory and Pulmonary and Critical Care Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA