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Vitamin D 'reduces asthma attacks'

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A new review by the clinical research body, Cochrane, suggests that adding vitamin D to usual asthma treatments can more than halve the risk of developing severe exacerbation needing hospital treatment (from 6% down to around 3%), compared with inactive placebo. Vitamin D supplements also reduced the need for oral steroids. 

Vitamin D has antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory actions in the lungs, which helps to reduce the chance of respiratory tract infections that can trigger worsening asthma symptoms. This evidence was classed as ‘high quality’ and it makes sense for everyone with asthma to consider taking a vitamin D supplement.

Public Health England (PHE) recently advised that everyone in the UK should take a vitamin D supplement during the autumn and winter months, when UV exposure is too low to allow the natural synthesis of vitamin D3 in the skin.  

PHE suggested taking a supplement supplying 10 micrograms vitamin D per day.

It is worth noting, however, that this is the minimum dose needed to prevent vitamin D deficiency conditions such as muscle and bone aches and pains, osteomalacia, or rickets.

For optimum health, there is increasing evidence that higher doses of 25mcg to 50mcg vitamin D are needed; particularly amongst older people as the ability to synthesise vitamin D declines in later life.

The latest findings relating to asthma protection typically used oral doses of between 10mcg (400 IU) to 100 mcg (4000 IU) vitamin D3 per day (although some used higher doses given by injection).

Select a supplement made to a pharmaceutical standard known as GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) to ensure you get a consistent dose. Look for a supplement supplying the vitamin D3 form, which is more effective at maintaining blood levels than the vitamin D2 form.

Reasons to choose Healthspan’s Super Strength Vitamin D3

  • Natural source vitamin D3
  • Also known as ‘the sunshine vitamin’
  • Contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and teeth
  • Supports normal muscle function
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Sarah Brewer graduated as a doctor from Cambridge University. Having worked in hospitals and general practice, she gained a Master's degree in Nutritional Medicine from the University of Surrey. She is the author of over 60 popular health books and writes widely on all aspects of health including complementary medicine. More from this expert.

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No statement or article should be understood as providing treatment advice. If you have a health problem consult your GP and check compatibility of new supplements with your GP or Pharmacist if you are taking any prescription medication.

Nutrition Expert sources the latest information and advice from a range of qualified doctors, nutritionists and coaches. We always endeavour to have the most up to date information possible and publish new content weekly. However with the constant research in this field sometimes some of our older articles can become out of date. If you see anything that you believe needs to be updated please let us know via our Contact Us page