Vitamin D levels have been all the rage recently. It seems like everyone is up-to-date on their personal vitamin D levels and many are either prescribed supplements, or find something to suit their fancy over-the-counter. Now, one study involving children with asthma treated with inhaled corticosteroids, suggests that vitamin D levels may improve overall lung function. Pre-Bronchodilator FEV1 levels showed a marked increase in patients with measured 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels greater than 20ng/mL.
The findings do raise some questions. Should part of the treatment regimen for children with asthma be to encourage them to “go outside and play”; sunshine being the primary natural source for vitamin D production, not to mention the added benefits of exercise to lung function and development? Since asthma symptoms tend to have a seasonal component and vitamin D levels tend to decrease in the winter months, should consideration be given to boosting vitamin D levels during these months for the child with asthma? And finally, much like diabetes, could similar results be achieved through diet? Though the selection list of vitamin D rich foods is limited, potentially a diet that regularly contained those foods may produce the same effect.
Bottom line: A balance of exercise, sunshine and diet, along with traditional therapies, may prove beneficial and keep children with asthma breathing a little better.