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Information on the latest vitamin D news and research.

Find out more information on deficiency, supplementation, sun exposure, and how vitamin D relates to your health.

Asthma epidemic and its relation to vitamin D deficiency

Although I have written more about the autism epidemic, another epidemic is occurring among our children, an asthma epidemic. About ten percent of the millions of asthmatic children around the world have severe therapy resistant asthma. These children live a tragic childhood of sickness, breathlessness, hospitalizations and fear that would break your heart to see.

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  About: John Cannell, MD

Dr. John Cannell is founder of the Vitamin D Council. He has written many peer-reviewed papers on vitamin D and speaks frequently across the United States on the subject. Dr. Cannell holds an M.D. and has served the medical field as a general practitioner, emergency physician, and psychiatrist.

7 Responses to Asthma epidemic and its relation to vitamin D deficiency

  1. Brant Cebulla says:

    Please also see our patient friendly summary written by Dr William Grant:

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  2. Brant – The “patient friendly summary” leaves me confused. It appears initially to indicate that D is beneficial, but then contradictorily says: “However, these infants may have an increased risk for asthma after the age of five years”… Is this due to the children going on after birth to become deficient in vitamin D by the age of 5 years, or in the Finnish instance, by 31 years of age of chronic deficiency? It would appear the point is being made that having adequate gestational levels of vitamin D predisposes to development of asthma later in life. Is this really what the intent of the document is? I surmise that many will come away from reading that document with the conviction that vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy is to be actively avoided.

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  3. Brant Cebulla says:

    [email protected],
    Agreed, it is a confusing summary. We will have to make the summary clearer.

    I believe there are conflicting studies on whether or not vitamin D supplementation during gestation is inversely or positively associated with asthma risk. We will need an expert to fill in.

    Dr. Grant can you weigh in?

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  4. The strength of the link between low vitamin D and asthma has certainly strengthened since the asthma document was prepared for the Vitamin D Council website. There are now 150 papers listed at pubmed.gov with asthma and vitamin D in the title and/or abstract. Some of the more recent papers are listed here. Regarding vitamin D during pregnancy, in a study involving mice with low vitamin D, “There were corresponding deficits in lung function that could not be entirely explained by lung volume.” [Zosky et al., 2011]. A study in Australia found autumn and winter conception and premature birth associated with increased risk of asthma, suggesting vitamin D effects [Algert et al., 2011]. However, there are some papers such as the one mentioned in the reader’s comment, but such papers should be considered in light of all the papers on the topic. If I were to rewrite the document now, I would probably give that paper less prominence.

    Akbar NA, Zacharek MA. Vitamin D: immunomodulation of asthma, allergic rhinitis, and chronic rhinosinusitis. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 Jun;19(3):224-8.
    Algert CS, Bowen JR, Lain SL, Allen HD, Vivian-Taylor JM, Roberts CL. Pregnancy exposures and risk of childhood asthma admission in a population birth cohort. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2011 Sep 19. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2011.01206.x. [Epub ahead of print]
    Alyasin S, Momen T, Kashef S, Alipour A, Amin R. The relationship between serum 25 hydroxy vitamin d levels and asthma in children. Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2011 Oct;3(4):251-5.
    Bener A, Ehlayel MS, Tulic MK, Hamid Q. Vitamin D Deficiency as a Strong Predictor of Asthma in Children. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2011 Oct 6;157(2):168-175.
    Bozzetto S, Carraro S, Giordano G, Boner A, Baraldi E. Asthma, allergy and respiratory infections: the vitamin D hypothesis. Allergy. 2011 Sep 21. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2011.02711.x. [Epub ahead of print]
    Carroll KN, Gebretsadik T, Larkin EK, Dupont WD, Liu Z, Van Driest S, Hartert TV. Relationship of maternal vitamin D level with maternal and infant respiratory disease. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011 Apr 13. [Epub ahead of print]
    Ehlayel MS, Bener A, Sabbah A. Is high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency evidence for asthma and allergy risks? Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Jun;43(3):81-8.
    Gupta A, Sjoukes A, Richards D, Banya W, Hawrylowicz C, Bush A, Saglani S. Relationship Between Serum Vitamin D, Disease Severity and Airway Remodeling in Children with Asthma. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2011 Sep 15. [Epub ahead of print]
    Hollams EM, Hart PH, Holt BJ, Serralha M, Parsons F, de Klerk NH, Zhang G, Sly PD, Holt PG. Vitamin d and atopy and asthma phenotypes in children: a longitudinal cohort study. Eur Respir J. 2011 May 12. [Epub ahead of print]
    Keet CA, McCormack MC, Peng RD, Matsui EC. Age- and atopy-dependent effects of vitamin D on wheeze and asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2011 Aug;128(2):414-16.e5.
    Krstić G. Asthma prevalence associated with geographical latitude and regional insolation in the United States of America and Australia. PLoS One. 2011 Apr 8;6(4):e18492.
    Staple LE, Teach SJ. Evidence for the Role of Inadequate Vitamin D in Asthma Severity Among Children. J Investig Med. 2011 Jul 27. [Epub ahead of print]
    van Oeffelen AA, Bekkers MB, Smit HA, Kerkhof M, Koppelman GH, Haveman-Nies A, van der A DL, Jansen EH, Wijga AH. Serum micronutrient concentrations and childhood asthma: the PIAMA birth cohort study. Pediatr Allergy Immunol. 2011 Sep 19. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3038.2011.01190.x. [Epub ahead of print]
    Zosky GR, Berry LJ, Elliot JG, James AL, Gorman S, Hart PH. Vitamin D deficiency causes deficits in lung function and alters lung structure. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2011 May 15;183(10):1336-43.

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  5. Are we not guilty of “compartmentalising”, i.e. looking at the issue as a single issue; should we not be taking into consideration the likes of concurrent Magnesium and calcium deficiencies to help explain the discrepency of the results from the study in question? Even if gestational levels of D3 are adequate, if tey drop off in the infant and the other factors are not addressed then asthma will still occur, n’est pas? (I speak from a veterinary and agriculture consultant background but for various reasons I have studied this issue for some time now). Frank Rowson.

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    • Brant Cebulla says:

      Great comment. I think so. The problem with research is that nobody likes doing RCTs with a bunch of drugs and nutrients working together, as that makes it difficult to really pick out what’s beneficial and what is not. For instance, if you are a researcher and you were trying to discover a breakthrough, would you be more apt to research outcomes vitamin D vs placebo, or vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and calcium vs placebo? Definitely the former.

  6. See “Crescendo of papers on Asthma, Allergy, and Vitamin D ”
    @ http://www.vitamindwiki.com/tiki-index.php?page_id=2032
    which has a graph of the number of allergy and asthma with vitamin D papers annually for the past 12 years.
    That web page has links to “Overview of Asthma and Vitamin D” as well as 71 other papers concerning breathing and vitamin D.

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