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September 15, 2010


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Since this study showed that vitamin D may help in preventing the release of inflammatory cytokines and increasing the secretion of anti-inflammatory proteins, I wonder if vitamin D would be useful in helping other atopic conditions such as allergies and eczema. Perhaps all inflammatory pathways may benefit. I would love to see a study on the effect of vitamin D on eczema. It seems some individual with eczema benefit from sun exposure, so maybe the vitamin D helps!

It may be that vitamin D is acting as a modifier of the immune system or a modifier of steroid response in ways that are relevant to people with asthma.There is a potential that restoring normal vitamin D levels in people with asthma may help improve their asthma.

This is a very exciting finding! It's exciting to see that vitamin D can be used for asthma attacks because vitamin D is already needed to help with calcium absorption. People who do not receive vitamin D supplementation should definitely start taking it because this is yet another benefit of having sufficient serum levels of vit D. I look forward to reading about more uses for vitamin D in the near future.

I agree with asefu. I wonder who this review was funded by. Could there be a potential link to the dairy industry? Although it is certainly important to have proper amounts of vitamin D in one's diet, I worry that the public is so overwhelmed with dairy campaigns that we forgot about the potential effects of the hormones in milk other potential side effects.

Vitamin D has many health-related claims, especially related to our immune system. It is a good recommendation for people to take proper amounts of vitamin D daily. However, we need more studies to see its effect on asthma.

I think that there is definite truth to the fact that asthma rates differ depending on the region of the country. I remember learning in class that Connecticut actually has one of the highest rates of asthma due to the worst air quality in the country.

On another note, it must be difficult to develop vitamin D deficiency with all of these fortified foods in the grocery stores.

This is so interesting! Vitamin D is so important. It's great to hear that it could possibly help with another disease state.

Producing vitamin D production from the sun exposure can be a good thing; however, we want to remember to not spend too much time in the sun without proper sunscreen protection!

KML, how interesting! While the trial may not have had a strong methodological design, it is very interesting to see some epidemiological variations in asthma, possibly due to sun exposure. Just another reason to move someplace sunny!

CTS, a study done in Sweden looked at patients who were hospitalized for asthma during 1965–2007. The article was titled, "Seasonal and regional variations of asthma and association with osteoporosis: possible role of vitamin D in asthma." They found that that more patients were hospitalized in the winter and North Sweden than in the summer and South Sweden. However, a limitation of this study is that it was a retrospective cohort study, so data such as vitamin D levels in the body, treatment, smoking history and physical activity of patients, were missing.

It is interesting to see that there is a possible link between osteoporosis, asthma, and a region a person lives in (more vs. less amounts of sun).

This is great news for asthma patients! It is interesting that vitamin D might have anti-inflammatory effects. I would be interested to see what other benefits the anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin D can bring. I also wonder if babies born with vitamin D deficiency would be at a higher risk of developing asthma later in their lives.

I would be very interested to see if there is a correlation between asthma and the region in which a patient lives. Here in the northeast, most of us are indoors for a few months of the year, and lack in vitamin D at this time. I wonder if there are more cases of asthma in areas where sun exposure is lacking. However, a confounder may be that there is a higher rate of asthma in urban areas due to pests, pollution, etc.

Gking, thanks for that great bit of information about other potential benefits of vitamin D and how just a little sun will go a long way. My wife and I love the sun and try to get out on our boat as often as possible to enjoy it. This is a great article, and I am glad to see how a little sun might benefit asthma patients. I look forward to seeing more research on vitamin D, as we are just scratching the surface on its many benefits.

Very cool, LD. I actually know a person who developed pityriasis rosea, which is also a skin condition. She was instructed to spend a few hours in the sun by her dermatologist. After doing so, this condition completely disappeared! I wonder if the vitamin D was the miracle behind her quick recovery. Really interesting!

Vitamin D is amazing, and it's great to learn about more potential benefits. Climate does play a huge role in the amount of vitamin D that people receive. One journal article that I read showed how climate affected patients with psoriasis and linked a reduction in psoriasis symptoms to improved vitamin D, lipid and carbohydrate levels in the patients with greater sun exposure.

Vitamin D has really been coming out of the woodwork lately! According to the Natural Standard Monograph, it can also be used for psoriasis, low calcium levels, muscle pain and osteoporosis with good or strong scientific evidence for benefit. It seems like asthma is a new discovery for vitamin D and we'll have to wait for more studies to see how much evidence can support its use in this case. Larger primary research studies are needed.

Vitamin D certainly has become somewhat of a "super vitamin" lately. It's very exciting that it may have yet another health benefit. I hope more studies come out to confirm this finding.

GKing, Thank you for sharing this interesting information. I am from Florida, so I probably have enough vitamin D to share with everybody in our office.

Vitamin D is so important to our bodies! I have recently read that pregnant mothers who take the recommended amount of vitamin D have children who have a 40% reduced risk of developing asthma from ages 3-5! This is thought to be due to the role that vitamin D plays on the immune system. A very reliable method of obtaining vitamin D is sun exposure!

According to secondary sources, 6 days of causal sunlight without the use of sunscreen can replace 49 days unexposed days, creating a more substantial amount of vitamin D production. It is amazing how many things that we need for our survival are found naturally in our environment!

It’s very interesting, reading all the research coming out about the importance and potential benefits of vitamin D. I think this is an important observation for asthma patients. I would love to know the average levels of deficiency these patients had, and what levels would be appropriate for patients. There is a lot of research out there too about the levels we should have patients meet, for the maximal beneficial effects of vitamin D to be felt. Just a few minutes in the sun a day, should help us maintain normal vitamin D levels.

Very interesting findings. I'd be interested to see further studies done. I think vitamin D supplementation can be beneficial regardless, even if there is no direct link to asthma symptoms.

Correct, this is a possible explanation because the active form of vitamin D, calcitriol, has been shown to inhibit both the synthesis and release of cytokines from smooth muscle cells in the bronchioles. This ultimately leads to a decrease in inflammation, as well as proliferation of the smooth muscles cells. There is another mechanism of action too that has to do with stimulating the synthesis of immune-related cells, leading to the possible anti-infective characteristics of vitamin D.

Some environmental risk factors for asthma include a lower socioeconomic status, small family size, exposure to second-hand smoke, allergen exposure, urbanization and decreased exposure to common childhood infections. Asthma pathophysiology is a result of both airway obstruction and inflammation.

According to the review, lung epithelial cells have a high level of an enzyme (1α-hydroxylase), which allows the conversion of inactive calcidiol to active calcitriol locally in the lungs. This is a possible explanation to why vitamin D deficiency may be linked to asthma.

This would be a great breakthrough if vitamin D supplementation could prevent asthma complications or a worsening of symptoms because these supplements are generally safe with very minimal risks of hypervitaminosis.

Just remember that environmental risk factors and genetic factors also play a large role in the development of asthma. For instance, 35-70% of susceptibility is related to genetics.

Also, future studies will hopefully evaluate the severity of vitamin D deficiency and the corresponding asthma stages I-IV.

This hypothesis is very interesting and could prove to be very beneficial in the future after more studies are designed and carried out. Asthma affects about 14-15 million Americans (5% of US population). Also, it is more common, as mentioned by the review, in African Americans, people who are obese, and in westernized countries with an already higher baseline risk. The only interesting question would be is vitamin D deficiency linked to asthma only later in life, or early on too? Most asthmatics are diagnosed by the age of five.

Wow, vitamin D seems to be good for so many things lately! In the abstract it suggests that vitamin D may act "by inhibiting the influx of inflammatory cytokines in the lung and increasing the secretion of interleukin 10 by T-regulatory cells and dendritic cells." Do you think this holds true for other parts of the body? Perhaps this has implications for vitamin D in other inflammatory disorders. I'm just postulating, but since vitamin D is found throughout the body, maybe it has anti-inflammatory effects in organs outside of the lungs too.

I find the review very interesting, considering so many people suffer from allergies and asthma, replacement of vitamin D can be a simple treatment or prevention. I heard of cases in which patients suffer asthmatic attacks when traveling between different climates. One explanation of such sudden onset, in addition to air humidity and quality, may be lack of exposure to the sun, hence lower vitamin D levels. Looking forward to more supportive data.

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