By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

“Vitamin D for Asthma” Asthma is a chronic inflammatory
disorder of the airways affecting approximately
10% of children. About half the risk is
genetically determined, but the rest we may have
some control over. One of the reasons asthma
rates may be rising is our rising rates of
vitamin D deficiency. Kids just aren’t going
out to play anymore. A doubling of vitamin D
insufficiency levels in recent years such that less than a quarter of
U.S. teens hit the mark. Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. We make no vitamin D
from the light coming from our TV
and computer screens. So do kids with lower vitamin D levels
in their blood have worse asthma? Apparently so… One of more than a dozen
observational studies suggesting that vitamin D is protective
against asthma exacerbations. So should we start giving kids
with asthma vitamin D supplements if they’re not going to go outside? Well, correlation
doesn’t mean causation. For example, maybe severe
asthma leads to less vitamin D, instead of the other way around. To prove cause and effect you
need to put it to the test. Take kids with asthma and randomize
them into one of two groups, vitamin D or an identical looking
sugar pill, and see what happens. The problem is there’d never
been such clinical trials like that… Until now. Give asthmatic kids between 500
and a 1,000 international units of vitamin D3 a day cuts asthma
exacerbations by more than half, perhaps by decreasing the incidence
of respiratory infections by boosting immunity while at the
same time diminishing inflammation. If it helps with inflammation, what
about inflammatory bowel disease? We’ll cover that next.

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