It was only a few weeks ago that we were reporting on the revised recommendations for Vitamin D, with public health bodies saying we should now all be taking supplements, but this week brought even more Vitamin D updates. The results of new research indicate there could be even more benefits to taking Vitamin D than we realised, with the supplement now being linked to a reduction in the risk of severe asthma attacks, the BBC has reported.
Although further research and more extensive studies are required, this potential extra benefit of Vitamin D could offer hope to asthma suffers in the UK, but what do the results actually mean, and why should we already be taking Vitamin D whether we suffer from asthma or not?
The results in question relate to nine clinical trials by the Cochrane research body which found that Vitamin D cut the rate of asthma attacks requiring steroid treatment, dropping from 0.44 to 0.28 per person per year, and those needing a hospital admission or visit to A&E dropping from 6% to 3%. The trials were mainly done on adults with mild to moderate asthma, with further analyses currently ongoing.
Approach with Caution
In spite of these positive findings, experts are recommending that we steer clear of making any generalised assumptions about its effectiveness in this respect until further and wider studies are carried out, especially on children who suffer from asthma. It is also noted by those who undertook the research that it remains unclear whether it only helps patients who are already Vitamin D deficient. Dr Erika Kennington from Asthma UK has stated, “While this research shows promise, more evidence is needed to conclusively show whether Vitamin D can reduce asthma attacks and symptoms. With so many different types of asthma, it could be that Vitamin D may benefit some people with the condition and not others.”
A leading researcher from the study has also pointed out that Vitamin D was added onto the asthma medication that participants were already taking, and it should be stressed that Vitamin D should not be considered as a substitute for current medication. They advise that patients should not take Vitamin D without consulting their GP in the first instance.
Why is Vitamin D So Important?
Whether you take asthma medication or not, the importance of Vitamin D to our general well-being should not be underplayed. With recent recommendations that we should be taking additional supplements in autumn and winter, it’s benefits have again come to light. Vitamin D is vital for the development of healthy bones, muscles and teeth and most of our Vitamin D comes from the sunlight, hence the reason for increased intakes in colder months. However, there are also important sources to be found in everyday foods such as fortified cereals, eggs and fish. Click here for information on the recent Vitamin D intake recommendations.
By Anna Scott, 7th September 2016