Vitamin Supplements: Can Vitamin D Help Control Asthma?

If you have asthma and low vitamin D, taking the vitamin may not help your lungs.

U.S. scientists randomly assigned 408 adults with persistent asthma and low vitamin D blood levels (less than 30 ng/mL) to take an inhaled corticosteroid medicine (ciclesonide) plus either a placebo or vitamin D-3 (one 100,000 IU dose and 4,000 IU a day afterwards). The drug doses were tapered off over time if possible.


After seven months, the vitamin D takers were no less likely than the placebo takers to experience a “treatment failure” like reduced air flow, hospitalization, or the need for additional medicine. However, there was a suggestion of fewer “exacerbations” (treatment failure plus additional worsening) in the vitamin D takers.

What to do: Everyone should shoot for the recommended levels of vitamin D (600 IU a day up to age 70 and 800 IU for those over 70). But until further studies are done, it’s unclear whether vitamin D can help control asthma.

Source: JAMA 311: 2083, 2014.


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