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Lower Serum Vitamin D Levels Linked to Asthma Severity

Last Updated: February 03, 2010.

Lung function tends to be worse and glucocorticoid response poorer in asthma patients who have lower serum levels of vitamin D, according to a study published online Jan. 14 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Lung function tends to be worse and glucocorticoid response poorer in asthma patients who have lower serum levels of vitamin D, according to a study published online Jan. 14 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

E. Rand Sutherland, M.D., of National Jewish Health in Denver, and colleagues recruited 54 nonsmoking adults with asthma, including those treated or untreated with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). To determine if there is a correlation between vitamin D, asthma severity and treatment response, the subjects were assessed for serum levels of vitamin D, lung function, airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), and glucocorticoid response.

The researchers found that subjects with higher vitamin D levels tended to have better lung function as measured by forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), and calculated a 21.0 mL increase in FEV1 for each ng/mL increase in serum level of vitamin D. Also, subjects who had a vitamin D insufficiency (<30 ng/mL) had increased AHR compared to those with higher levels of vitamin D (≥30 ng/mL). Finally, enhanced glucocorticoid response in vitro was associated with higher vitamin D levels, and this association was stronger in the ICS-untreated subjects than in the cohort as a whole.

"In asthma, reduced vitamin D levels are associated with impaired lung function, increased airway hyperresponsiveness and reduced glucocorticoid response, suggesting that supplementation of vitamin D levels in patients with asthma may improve multiple parameters of asthma severity and treatment response," the authors write.

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