Asthma patients might benefit from taking Vitamin D supplements, according to a recent study held by English researchers who studied over a thousand patients taking the vitamins.

The recent study was published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and was led by Adrian Martineau from the Queen Mary University of London. The team studied around 658 adults and 435 children that suffered from the disease and monitored their responses to vitamin D supplements. The idea of providing the supplements to patients came after researchers noted that asthma feeds on low levels of Vitamin D in the body, so they assumed that by increasing the vitamin levels, the number of asthma attacks would decrease.

Asthma attack
25 million Americans suffer from asthma attacks, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Image credit: UPMC.

Results showed that by taking supplements, the need of asthma medication lowered 37 percent, while rush visits to the hospital for emergency attacks decreased 60 percent, according to the study.

The authors do note that patients still required their asthma medication and urged patients to continue using their regular asthma medicine until more studies conclude the benefits of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D eases asthma

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of 12 Americans suffers from asthma attacks.

Asthma as a disease costs $56 billion per year in medical expenses with lost school and medical days. The disease is known for making patients suffer from shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness and coughing.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D. Image credit: The Independent.

Currently, physicians help asthma patients by giving them corticosteroids orally, which are the common inhalers for asthma patients that help ease the disease. However, the number of asthma patients has been increasing in the latest years.

The CDC states that the number of asthma patients grew to 4.3 million between 2001 to 2009. This increase has raised the demand of corticosteroids. The recent study was looking for a more natural way to treat the disease.

Researchers analyzed over nine different clinical trials that included over a thousand people suffering from asthma at different stages of the disease. Patients started taking vitamin D supplements, from 400 to 4,000 units on a daily basis.

To measure the results, the research team analyzed the amount of asthma attacks and medical emergencies that occurred when taking the supplement and noted lower rates after the Vitamin D ingestions.

Researchers performed lung tests to measure lung function in patients and several asthma tests to note the patients’ response to the supplements and found no counter-effects. However, researchers still don’t know why Vitamin D helps to ease asthma attacks.

“We don’t yet have the evidence to say that everyone should take it,” said lead author Martineau about the study.

Meanwhile, researchers are advising asthma patients to remain on medication until more advanced studies are made.

Source: The New York Times