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The lower vitamin D levels are in the blood, the worse the indicators of allergy and asthma severity, according to the first study of vitamin D and disease severity in children with asthma.
The study, which will appear in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, followed 616 children with asthma living in Costa Rica and tested them for various allergic markers, lung capacity, and vitamin D.
The researchers found that children with lower levels of vitamin D in the blood had numerous signs of having more severe asthma and signs of allergy. They were more likely to have been hospitalized for asthma in the previous year, had more hyperreactivity of their airways and used more inhaled corticosteroids.
"This study suggests that there may be added health benefits to vitamin D supplementation," said Dr Juan Celedón, one of the lead authors of the study. He noted that it is difficult to establish cause and effect in such a study, or whether vitamin D supplementation can prevent the development of asthma in very young children; these questions will require further clinical trials.
Vitamin D recommendations are currently based on preserving bone health, such as preventing rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults.
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