According to a recent study led by Ourania Kolokotroni from the Cyprus International Institute for Environmental & Public Health in association with Harvard School of Public Health, Cyprus University of Technology, asthmatic young people have lower levels of vitamin D when compared with non-asthmatics. The findings were published in the current issue of the journal BMC Public Health.
Vitamin D deficiency has been considered as a major public health problem that affects people of all ages, even in regions with abundant sun exposure. Furthermore, the prevalence of asthma and allergies has been also increasing worldwide, due to changes in environmental and lifestyle factors such as the reduced exposure to infections, dietary changes and obesity. There is now strong evidence indicating that vitamin D may have multiple biological effects, beyond bone metabolism, including the pathogenesis of respiratory and allergic diseases. There is some evidence on the association of vitamin D with asthma in the general population, based on studies that found that asthmatics have an inverse relationship between sufficient vitamin D levels and asthma severity indicators, such as the use of asthma medication, asthma exacerbations, and hospitalization, suggesting that vitamin D plays a role in asthma with need for further clinical assessment.
In their study, entitled “Vitamin D levels and status amongst asthmatic and non-asthmatic adolescents in Cyprus: a comparative cross-sectional study,” Kolokotroni and colleagues compared the Vitamin D mean serum levels and status between asthmatic and non-asthmatic adolescents in order to examine the relationship between vitamin D and asthma severity.
The cohort included adolescents aged 16–17 years that reported wheezing in the past 12 months and those who were deemed as having asthma assessed with the ISAAC questionnaire were assigned into an Active Asthmatics group (AA, n=69). The control group included young people categorized as Never Wheezers/Never Asthmatics (NWNA, n=671). The research team assessed mean 25(OH)D serum levels differences and vitamin D status between the two groups.
Data analysis revealed an unadjusted mean 25(OH)D serum levels were 22.90 and 21.15 ng/mL in the NWNA groups and in the AA group, respectively. But when the researchers adjusted the models. the groups’ differences remained significant.
Based on these results, the researchers concluded that levels of vitamin D have a tendency to be decreased among young people with asthma when compared to young people without the condition.