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Vitamin D status associated with asthma outcomes among children

Posted on: August 25, 2017   by  Missy Sturges & John Canell, MD


Asthma is a respiratory condition in which the airways become inflamed and produce extra mucus.  Symptoms of asthma include difficulty breathing, coughing and shortness of breath. Most cases result from an allergic reaction or hypersensitivity to something in the environment.

Over 6.2 million children have asthma, making this the most prevalent chronic childhood disease. Although rare, severe asthma cases can be life threatening. Therefore, cautionary measures must be taken to help prevent and manage the severity of asthma in children.

Recent studies suggest vitamin D may help manage asthma. In fact, vitamin D supplementation has been linked with a reduced rate and severity of asthma attacks in children. Vitamin D supplementation of 1,000 IU/25 lbs body weight or safe, sun exposure is required to enable children to reach 25(OH)D levels between 40-80 ng/ml, and thus, experience the health benefits of optimal vitamin D status.[/mepr-active]

Now, let’s take a step back to review the role of calcidiol, or 25(OH)D, in the body. Our bodies receive the majority of vitamin D from supplements or sun exposure and a small amount of vitamin D from our diet. Vitamin D makes its way to the liver, where it is converted to 25(OH)D. This form of vitamin D circulates through the blood, available for conversion into its biologically active form, calcitriol, when needed by the body. 

There are two forms of circulating 25(OH)D: bound and free. Bound 25(OH)D is attached to vitamin D binding protein and albumin. Free, or unbound, 25(OH)D is believed to passively diffuse across cell membranes of the 33 target tissues that utilize vitamin D, according to the free-hormone-hypothesis. 

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