A new Tel Aviv University study shows that boosting vitamin D levels can help manage asthma attacks. Ronit Confino-Cohen, MD, and researchers analyzed the medical records of nearly 4 million members of Clalit Health Services, the largest health care provider in Israel.

The vitamin D levels of 307,900 people were measured between 2008 and 2012, and the researchers also took into account key predictors of asthma, such as obesity and other chronic diseases. Of some 21,000 patients with asthma, those with a vitamin D deficiency were 25% more likely than other asthmatics to have had at least one flare-up in the recent past.

The researchers found that vitamin D-deficient asthmatics were at a higher risk of an asthma attack. Confino-Cohen says, “Our results add more evidence to the link between Vitamin D and asthma, suggesting beneficial effects of Vitamin D on asthma exacerbations. We expect that further prospective studies will support our results. In the meantime, our results support a recommendation for screening of Vitamin D levels in the subgroup of asthma patients who experience recurrent exacerbations. In those with Vitamin D deficiency, supplementation may be necessary.”

Confino-Cohen states, “We know a lot about this disease and many therapeutic options are available. So it’s quite frustrating that the prevalence of asthma is not decreasing and many patients suffer exacerbations and significant impairment in their quality of life. Increasing Vitamin D levels is something we can easily do to improve patients’ quality of life.”

Based on the findings, the research team recommends that people whose asthma cannot be controlled with existing treatments have their vitamin D levels tested, according to a news release from the American Friends of Tel Aviv University. For individuals with a vitamin D deficiency, supplements may make sense.

Confino-Cohen states, “This study provided an exceptional opportunity to research asthma. I received a research grant from Clalit Health Services, which provided us with the opportunity to use their very large database and to conduct the study with the professional staff of Clalit Research Institute. We anticipate further prospective research that will support our findings and open a new treatment modality to the population of uncontrolled asthmatics.”

Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University