An article published ahead of print in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine® on July 13, 2012 reports an association between diminished vitamin D levels and poorer lung function among children with asthma who use inhaled corticosteroids.
Boston researchers evaluated data from 1,024 asthmatic children who participated in the Childhood Asthma Management Program, which examined the effects of an inhaled corticosteroid known as budesonide, nedocromil (another inhaled asthma treatment), or placebo. Blood samples collected at the beginning of the trial were analyzed for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Subjects with 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels of 20 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) were classified as deficient, and insufficient levels were defined as those between 20 ng/mL to 30 ng/mL.
"In our study of 1,024 children with mild to moderate persistent asthma, those who were deficient in vitamin D levels showed less improvement in pre-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) after one year of treatment with inhaled corticosteroids than children with sufficient levels of vitamin D," reported Ann Chen Wu, MD, MPH, who is an assistant professor in the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. "These results indicate that vitamin D supplementation may enhance the anti-inflammatory properties of corticosteroids in patients with asthma."
"Our study is the first to suggest that vitamin D sufficiency in asthmatic children treated with inhaled corticosteroids is associated with improved lung function," Dr Wu announced. "Accordingly, vitamin D levels should be monitored in patients with persistent asthma being treated with inhaled corticosteroids. If vitamin D levels are low, supplementation with vitamin D should be considered."
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