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Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Jun;9(3):202-7. doi: 10.1097/ACI.0b013e32832b36cd.

Childhood asthma may be a consequence of vitamin D deficiency.

Author information

  • Channing Laboratory and Pulmonary and Critical Care Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA. augusto.litonjua@channing.harvard.edu

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

Vitamin D deficiency has been rediscovered as a public-health problem worldwide. It has been postulated that vitamin D deficiency may explain a portion of the asthma epidemic. The purpose of this review is to present the evidence for a role of vitamin D in asthma.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Both animal models and studies in human fetal tissues show that vitamin D plays a role in fetal lung growth and maturation. Epidemiologic studies have also suggested that higher prenatal vitamin D intakes have a protective role against wheezing illnesses in young children. Vitamin D may protect against wheezing illnesses through its role in upregulating antimicrobial proteins or through its multiple immune effects. In addition, vitamin D may play a therapeutic role in steroid resistant asthmatics, and lower vitamin D levels have recently been associated with higher risks for asthma exacerbations.

SUMMARY:

Improving vitamin D status holds promise in primary prevention of asthma, in decreasing exacerbations of disease, and in treating steroid resistance. However, the appropriate level of circulating vitamin D for optimal immune functioning remains unclear. Because vitamin D deficiency is prevalent even in sun-replete areas, clinical trials are needed to definitively answer questions about the role of vitamin D in asthma.

PMID:
19365260
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2897155
Free PMC Article
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