Background: Asthma is a significant health problem that is trending up in prevalence and cost. The pathophysiology of asthma has been shown to be multi-factorial. In recent years vitamin D has demonstrated potential therapeutic benefit. Vitamin D is thought to have an effect on immune function decreasing inflammation; as a result vitamin D may have a role in asthma management. Despite many studies linking vitamin D with asthma very few studies have looked at treatment response following supplementation. This review attempts to look at the effects of using oral vitamin D, in addition to standard therapy, to gain better control of asthma.
Method: An exhaustive search was performed using Medline-Ovid, Medline-Pub-Med, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. Keywords included were as follows: asthma, vitamin D, supplementation or dietary supplements, and airway functions or respiratory functions. Relevant articles were assessed for quality using GRADE.
Results: Two randomized, open-label studies and one randomized, blinded study met inclusion criteria. All three studies demonstrated a benefit in measured airway functions and outcomes specific to each study were all shown to confirm vitamin D’s role in asthma management. Overall the qualities of the study were moderate to low warranting further study with a greater amount of participants and a focus on correlating serum vitamin D levels with therapeutic benefit.
Conclusion: Vitamin D has the potential to play a significant role in the overall management of a patient with asthma. These studies have laid the groundwork and strengthened the hypothesis that standard treatment with supplementation of vitamin D may reduce morbidity. Despite the need for stronger, more complete studies vitamin D is a safe adjunct therapy for asthma patients.
Keywords: Asthma, vitamin D, supplementation, dietary supplements, airway function, and respiratory functions tests.
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