The sunshine vitamin may prove beneficial in helping children with asthma to become more resilient to harmful respiratory effects caused by indoor air pollution. Vitamin D is known to boost bone health and strengthen your teeth; if the latest findings are to be believed, vitamin D could do wonders for common asthma symptoms too. The study was published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology:In Practice.
"Asthma is an immune-mediated disease," said lead author Sonali Bose, Assistant Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
"From previous scientific studies we knew that vitamin D was a molecule that may influence asthma by impacting antioxidant or immune-related pathways," she added.
Having low blood vitamin D levels was found to be associated with harmful respiratory effects of indoor air pollution from sources such as cigarette smoke, cooking, burning of candles, and incense, among children with asthma.
Interestingly, in homes that had the highest indoor air pollution, those who happened to have higher blood vitamin D levels were associated with fewer asthma symptoms. The effects were most pronounced among obese children.
"This highlights a third factor at play here - the obesity epidemic - and helps bring that risk to light when considering individual susceptibility to asthma."
For the study, the team evaluated three factors -- air pollution levels in homes, blood vitamin D levels, and asthma symptoms -- in 120 school children with pre-existing asthma. One-third of the children were obese.
"One way to increase blood vitamin D levels is to increase sun exposure, but that isn't always possible in urban environments, or in people with darker skin pigmentation," Bose said.
"Another way is through dietary supplements or eating more foods that are high in vitamin D, such as fatty fish, mushrooms, or foods fortified with vitamin D, such as bread, orange juice, or milk."
(With Inputs From IANS)