Dear Living Well Daily Reader,
Fits of coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightening.
When I was a kid, my brother experienced terrifying symptoms like this frequently due to his regular asthma attacks.
Many times, his attacks were so severe he would end up in the emergency room. And more than once, he was hospitalized.
Fortunately, as he grew older, his asthma attacks became less frequent. But they never went away. Even as a man in his 50s he still suffered occasional attacks.
However, since about five years ago, when he was diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency, he’s been much healthier.
You see, at his doctor’s recommendation, he started taking vitamin D supplements.
And since then, his asthma attacks have all but disappeared!
While neither he nor his doctor made a connection between his intake of vitamin D and his asthmatic symptoms, it seems that science recently has.
Skip the Steroids
New research published in the esteemed Cochrane Library shows that taking oral vitamin D supplements along with regular asthma medication can reduce severe asthma attacks.
Scientists have previously linked low blood levels of vitamin D to increased risk of asthma attacks for both adults and children. More recently, vitamin D has been thought to help reduce upper respiratory infections that may trigger asthma attacks.
Many clinical trials on the effects of vitamin D supplementation on asthma attacks and symptoms in adults and children have been performed.
For their review, the Cochrane team used seven trials that included 658 adults and 435 children. The participants were ethnically diverse and from many parts of the world including, India, Japan, Poland, Canada and the U.S. Most recruits suffered from mild to moderate asthma and continued to take their normal medications for the duration of the study.
After the data, researchers discovered that vitamin D supplementation made a significant reduction in the risk of severe asthma attacks that required medical attention or hospital admission!
Additionally, vitamin D supplementation also reduced the rate of steroid treatments given to folks suffering from severe attacks.
This means taking a daily vitamin D supplement could not only help prevent you from experiencing severe attacks; it may also reduce your need for steroid treatments!
But the best part — the scientists also found that taking these supplement can keep your lungs health without any additions side effects. That’s something you can’t say about steroids, which can cause weight gain, agitation and water retention and can suppress the immune system.
Bring on the D
While these results are promising, further research needed in order to understand how vitamin D can help protect folks with asthma.
However, after seeing the way it’s helped my brother, I’m already a believer.
The best way to get more vitamin D is through sunlight exposure. However getting outdoor sun exposure during the wintertime (or anytime, for that matter) is not a reliable option for many people, supplementation is the clear choice for maintaining your vitamin D levels.
The research didn’t provide a recommended dose, but most experts recommend 500 IU daily for general health.
Most importantly, look for a vitamin D supplement in softgel form that contains vitamin D-3 (cholecalciferol) and is paired with vitamin K-2. Both D-3 and K-2 are most easily absorbed types of these vitamins and work in together to give you maximum health benefits that might also boost your heart health.
Managing editor, Living Well Daily
 Vitamin D