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Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of asthma exacerbations in adults.

Vitamin D deficiency may increase the risk of asthma exacerbations in adults.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18.7 million million adults and 6.8 million children currently suffer from asthma in the United States alone. It's no wonder that scientists all over the world are looking into causes of–and preventive treatments for–asthma attacks, with an estimated 300 million people suffering from the chronic respiratory illness worldwide.

Researchers from Tel Aviv University published a study in the European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology earlier this month that links vitamin D deficiency to asthma exacerbations. The research team, led by Dr. Ronit Confino-Cohen, studied 307,900 Israeli adults between the ages of 22 and 50, assessing their medical records and compiling their vitamin D level data over a four-year span. Roughly 21,000 of those adults had been diagnosed with asthma. The researchers chose to study an adult population because much of the pre-existing research relating to asthma exacerbations focused on children.

Dr. Confino-Cohen and her colleagues found that "among those with vitamin D deficiency, the odds of having an exacerbation were 25 percent greater compared to those with levels in the normal range." Interestingly, vitamin D deficiency did not seem to relate directly to an asthma diagnosis, but it did strongly associate with asthma attacks.

According to Science Daily, the researchers encourage people who suffer from frequent asthma exacerbations to have their vitamin D levels checked and consult their physicians regarding whether a supplement might improve their quality of life.

In addition to possibly warding off future asthma exacerbations, normal vitamin D levels are associated with having a positive effect on blood pressure, heart health and the immune system, potentially preventing the development of autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.

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