Vitamin D Has Limited Benefits In Asthma Treatment

By on May 19, 2014

A new study has found out that there is limited benefit of adding Vitamin D to Asthma treatment.

It is only beneficial to asthma patients who achieved sufficient amount of Vitamin D levels in their blood after taking supplements.

On the whole, there was not much difference in asthma control in the study group that were given Vitamin D supplements and study group that were given placebo.

This study was conducted by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Mario Castro, MD, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine are the members of this study.

Vitamin D - Asthma TreatmentThey said that according to earlier studies an asthma patient with low Vitamin D levels would have worse lung functioning, also experience more asthma attacks, and even visit emergency room for treatment more often when compared to asthma patient with better levels of Vitamin D. Castro also said that this is the first study on Vitamin D supplements and asthma control.

Of course, low levels of Vitamin D shows its influence in many health disorders, like asthma, diabetes, osteoporosis, etc. For this study, 408 adults with mild to moderate asthma, and having low levels of Vitamin D were taken from 9 major medical centers of America.

All of them had an average of 18nanograms of Vitamin D per milliliter of blood, which is less than the normal 30nanograms. These adults tool inhaled steroid on daily basis for controlling asthma, and also carrying rescue inhalers in case of having asthma attack.

Of these patients, some of them are randomly selected and assigned into one of the two groups. Patients of one group were given a loading dose of 100,000 international units of Vitamins D3, which is followed by 4,000 units of dose daily. And the patients of other group received placebo treatment by giving identical looking medicals, which were inactive.

Researchers of this study did not find any difference between the two groups in controlling asthma. There was no difference in asthma treatment failure, or in frequency of attack, or in necessity of emergency care. There was no improvement in quality of life in patients taking Vitamin D supplements according to the questionnaires.

The only difference which was seen in reduction of daily inhaled steroid dosage. Initially, for first 12 weeks patients were given 320micrograms of inhaled steroid daily. After that, if the patient was able to well-control the asthma, then the dosage was reduced to half i.e. 160micrograms per day.

This dosage level was given for next 8weeks, and if the asthma still remained controlled, then the dosage was cut down to half. While, there was reduction of dosage in both groups, but reducing of dosage was more in group that was given Vitamin D supplements.

At the end of 28th week of study, group receiving Vitamin D were taking an average dose of 111micrograms of inhaled steroid per day, and group with placebo treatment were taking an average dose of 126micrograms of inhaled steroid per day.

Castro said that even though it was just a difference of 15micrograms, it is statistically significant as it will show significant impact on side effects of taking inhaled steroids on long term.

Castro also said that, even though inhaled steroid helps effectively in controlling asthma, but most of the patients dislike it because it results in weight gain, increased risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.

Researchers also found out that 18% of patients from the group that were given Vitamin D supplements did not showed improved levels of Vitamin D in blood even after taking supplements. They were still showing Vitamin D levels less than 30nanograms.

And when the researchers considered the remaining 82% of patients from this group who achieved more than 30nanograms Vitamin D levels, they found out that these patients showed some interesting results.

These patients when compared to patients with an average Vitamin D levels of 42nanograms from placebo group, the former showed 40% lesser asthma treatment failures, and experienced half the number of asthma attacks they usually experienced.

Castro said that, they don’t know the long-term effects of taking Vitamin D supplements, but with this study, it appears to be safe. There were no reports of any side effects by patients and it is inexpensive too. If a person is experiencing multiple asthma attacks, then it is better to have a look at the Vitamin D levels.

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