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Study finds limited benefit for vitamin D in asthma treatment
Date:5/18/2014

Adding vitamin D to asthma treatment to improve breathing only appears to benefit patients who achieve sufficient levels of the supplement in the blood. Overall, the ability to control asthma did not differ between a study group that received vitamin D supplements and a group that received placebo, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"Previous studies suggested that if you have asthma and low levels of vitamin D in the blood, you have worse lung function, more asthma attacks and more emergency room visits than asthma patients with higher vitamin D levels," said Mario Castro, MD, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. "This is the first randomized controlled trial to investigate whether taking vitamin D supplements can improve asthma control."

The study appears online May 18 in JAMA.

Low levels of vitamin D are thought to play a role in many medical problems, from asthma to osteoporosis to diabetes. In this study, the investigators studied 408 adult patients at nine major U.S. medical centers. All patients had a diagnosis of mild to moderate asthma, and all had what is considered deficient blood levels of vitamin D, with an average of 18 nanograms of vitamin D per milliliter of blood. Measures below 30 are considered abnormal. All patients took an inhaled steroid daily to control their asthma, and all had rescue inhalers in the event of an asthma attack.

The patients were randomly assigned to one of two groups. The treatment group received a loading dose of 100,000 international units of vitamin D3 followed by daily doses of 4,000 units, and the placebo group received identical looking but inactive capsules.

The investigators found no differences between the two groups in all major measures of asthma control. The groups showed no significant differences in the number of treatment failures requiring patients to take more m
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Contact: Julia Evangelou Strait
straitj@wustl.edu
314-286-0141
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

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