One of the world’s most respected research institutions, The Cochrane Collaboration, has found that “vitamin D is likely to reduce both the risk of severe asthma exacerbation and healthcare use.”
We’ve been hearing about Vitamin D and its million benefits for years now. Many of us have read about Vitamin D seeming to help asthmatics too. So why are we so pleased about this study in particular?
Well, for one, this was a meta-study. So researchers looked at data from several studies, that had been conducted with patients from different countries and different age groups. That’s important, because if something is proven to work across multiple studies, involving asthma patients from different races, sexes and ages, it improves the chances that it will be effective for the rest of us too.
Second, this meta-study included only studies that qualified for the highest badge, the so-called “gold standard” for medical research, the “double-blind, placebo control”. In plain-speak, that means that in each study, the people were divided into 2 groups that received either a real dose of vitamin D or a blank filler, a placebo.
Neither the people participating in the study, i.e. the patients nor the researchers knew whether they were getting the real Vitamin D or the sugar pill. So, both the patients and the researchers were going in “blind”, removing the chances of a psychological bias from influencing the results of the study. That’s why the term “double-blind” is used.
Cochrane researchers reported that “People given vitamin D experienced fewer asthma attacks needing treatment with oral steroids. The average number of attacks per person per year went down from 0.44 to 0.28 with vitamin D (high-quality evidence). Vitamin D reduced the risk of attending hospital with an acute asthma attack from 6 per 100 to around 3 per 100 (high-quality evidence).”
Patients with “predominantly mild to moderate” asthma should consider including supplemental Vitamin D to their treatment regimen. If you can halve the number of attacks and hospital visits using a simple vitamin, as proven by the gold standard of science, why would you not do it?
Take this information to you doctor. After all those times you saw your doctor roll his/her eyes when you mentioned a vitamin or a dietary supplement, it is finally, truly, your day in the sun! This is the sort of evidence even your doctor would take seriously. Here is a link to the study summary, for you to print and take to your doctor. Here’s wishing that we all breathe a little easier on our way to vibrant health.
Martineau AR, Cates CJ, Urashima M, Jensen M, Griffiths AP, Nurmatov U, Sheikh A, Griffiths CJ. Vitamin D for the management of asthma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2016, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD011511. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD011511.pub2