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Children who need to take inhaled corticosteroids for asthma may not see full benefits of the medication if they have a vitamin D deficiency, according to researchers from Harvard Medical School. Blood testing for this nutrient may help identify patients who could benefit from vitamin D supplements.
In order to understand the benefits of vitamin D among children who have asthma, the team of scientists reviewed the medical records of more than 1,000 individuals aged 5 to 12 years who participated in an earlier trial that investigated asthma medications. These subjects were divided into three groups based on their vitamin D levels: deficient, insufficient or sufficient.
Results showed that, compared to the other two groups, children who were deficient in vitamin D had worse pre-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume (FEV1) scores after one year of treatment with inhaled corticosteroids.
"Our study is the first to suggest that vitamin D sufficiency in asthmatic children treated with inhaled corticosteroids is associated with improved lung function," said Ann Chen Wu, M.D., M.P.H. "Accordingly, vitamin D levels should be monitored in patients with persistent asthma being treated with inhaled corticosteroids."
Individuals found to be deficient in vitamin may then start regimens of supplements, Wu added. Blood testing may help identify these patients.
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