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Harvard scientists probe link between vitamin D and asthma

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Unread 05.21.09, 05:10 PM
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Harvard scientists probe link between vitamin D and asthma

05.19.09 06:08 PM

New research appears to suggest that children with vitamin D insufficiency may be at an increased risk of severe asthma attacks.

Scientists from Harvard Medical School travelled to Costa Rica where they studied 616 children with the respiratory condition. They assessed each participant for allergic markers, lung function and circulating vitamin D levels.

What they found was that children with lower vitamin D levels were significantly more likely to have been hospitalized for asthma in the previous year and were likely to have used more inhaled corticosteroids than those with normal levels of the vitamin.

In addition to that, their airways tended to show increased hyperreactivity, and the children were also significantly more likely to be allergic to dust mites.

According to Drs. Juan Celedon and Augusto Litonjua, who were among the study’s authors, these results provide epidemiological support for what scientist have already suspected, namely that vitamin D deficiency may worsen asthma and allergy severity.

"[W]e suspect that giving vitamin D supplements to patients who are deficient may help with their asthma control," they conclude.

This is only the latest contribution to uncovering the extensive health benefits of vitamin D.

Previous studies have found that insufficient levels of the vitamin are not only associated with rickets and other bone problems in children, but they may be linked to mature-age disorders such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.

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