Vitamin D may reduce asthma attack risk

Asthma attacks serious enough to require steroid treatment or hospitalisation may be less likely when people take vitamin D supplements, a recent analysis suggests.

Researchers examined data combined from seven studies with a total of 955 asthma patients who were randomly selected to take vitamin D or a placebo pill, in addition to any other medicines prescribed to manage their symptoms.

When patients took vitamin D, they were 54 per cent less likely to have an attack severe enough to need an emergency room visit or hospital admission, the study found. The apparent benefits of taking vitamin D were significant only in people who started out with a deficiency, however.

"The message is that asthma patients... should get their vitamin D level checked, and if it is low, they should take a vitamin D supplement. There is negligible risk associated with doing this, and there is pretty good evidence to suggest this could reduce their risk of having an attack," said senior study author, Dr Adrian Martineau of Queen Mary University of London in the UK.- REUTERS