Siam Pukkato/ShutterstockThe benefits of taking a vitamin D supplement are numerous, including possibly preventing multiple sclerosis and warding off depression. Now, new research is pointing to one more reason you’ll want to check your vitamin D levels, and it has to do with a common breathing condition: asthma.
According to a study published online in Lancet Respiratory Medicine, taking vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of a severe asthma attack that would result in hospitalization by up to 50 percent. In the study, oral vitamin D supplements also reduced asthma attacks that would require treatment by steroid pills or injections by up to 30 percent.
For the study, researchers looked at 955 asthma patients and their progress during seven randomized controlled trials. According to MedPageToday, the effect showed the most statistical significance in patients with low baseline vitamin D levels, as opposed to patients with higher baseline levels. In order to find out your vitamin D levels, speak with your health care provider about testing.
“This fits with our broad understanding that vitamin D supplementation is likely to confer the greatest benefit to those who have the lowest vitamin D levels to begin with,” Adrian Martineau, PhD, of the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry’s Blizard Institute in London told MedPage Today.
This study isn’t the first to report on the benefits of vitamin D supplements for asthma. A previous Cochrane review reports that vitamin D supplements reduced the risk of asthma exacerbation by up to 37 percent.
“High-quality evidence from randomized placebo-controlled trials indicates that vitamin D supplementation can reduce risk of asthma attacks,” Dr. Martineau notes. “Our new article raises the possibility that those with the lowest vitamin D levels may benefit the most, but we have not yet shown this definitively.”
To further understanding their findings, Dr. Martinaeu is advocating for future testing of vitamin D levels in patients who experience an exacerbation of their asthma symptoms, as well as giving vitamin D-deficient asthma sufferers a daily oral dose of vitamin D3.
Vitamin D isn’t the only supplement shown to help asthma attacks. Previous research indicates that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil can reduce the severity of asthma symptoms. Not a fish eater? Here are some alternative natural sources of omega-3 fatty acid for people who don’t like fish.
Before you begin taking vitamin D3 supplements or any supplements for that matter, read up on the potential health consequences. Then, talk with a healthcare provider to make sure you take the proper dosage and that it won’t clash with your other medications. In the meantime, it doesn’t hurt to get your daily dose of D by incorporating more vitamin D-rich foods into your diet.