Is This Basic Vitamin Deficiency the Cause of Asthma?

Is This Basic Vitamin Deficiency the Cause of Asthma?

Asthma has increased by over 300 percent during the past 20 years. The disease now affects some 20 million children and adults in the United States.  Conventional asthma drugs present a number of dangers, but recent research suggests there may be a safe, easy approach to treating asthma.

A common drug prescribed for asthma is Advair, which contains a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA), salmeterol. A 2006 study determined regular use of LABAs can actually make an asthma attack worse.  Researchers believe salmeterol may be implicated in as many as 5,000 deaths related to asthma. Conventional treatments are also known to increase the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, among other health consequences.

Now researchers are learning there is a likely causal relationship between a common nutrient and asthma. A study found that African American children with asthma in Washington, D.C., are much more likely to have low levels of vitamin D than do healthy children.  The researchers found that 86 percent of participants in the study with asthma had low levels of vitamin D. Only 19 percent of the children without asthma had such low levels.

On a wider level, only 5 to 37 percent of American babies have adequate levels of vitamin D, as set by the American Academy of Pediatrics.  In part, that may be because breast milk, while a perfect food in every other way, is often low in vitamin D.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that infants get 400 IU’s of vitamin D daily. This dosage was originally recommended as adequate to prevent rickets. However, it does not protect against other diseases, including cancer, heart disease, infections and asthma. Earlier research has shown the recommended dosage is much too low, and many infants may need up to 10 times more for optimal health.

A 2007 study linked poor diets and inadequate levels of vitamin D among mothers as a determining factor in whether infants developed asthma. Many new mothers are themselves deficient in vitamin D.

There are also a number of other studies demonstrating the impact of vitamin D on lung health.  We also know vitamin D upregulates 3,000 genes, one of which produces over 200 anti-microbial peptides, and some of these act as broad-spectrum antibiotics. Optimizing immune function is another factor in treating asthma successfully, and vitamin D is a very powerful immune modulator.

Both adults and children should have some safe sun exposure, without sunscreen. Get out of the sun as soon as the skin turns the slightest bit pink, to prevent dangerous sunburn.  You can also use oral supplements, including drops for children too young to manage pills. Your doctor can administer a blood test to measure your levels of vitamin D, to be sure you have getting the right amount.

According to health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola;

If you get your child’s levels to about 60 ng/ml, there’s a strong likelihood — especially if you combine it with exercise and balancing out her omega 3 and omega 6 fats as described below — that she will not experience asthma anymore.

He recommends you increase your child’s intake of high-quality animal-based omega 3 fats. He also recommends krill oil as a good alternative to fish oil. You should also reduce your child’s intake of omega 6 fats, which are common in processed foods.

Do not be obsessive about cleanliness. Mercola believes exposure to common bacterial and viral infections in childhood strengthens the immune system.

Get regular exercise. Avoid pasteurized milk. Finally, address any allergies you child may have. Dr. Mercola recommends an intradermal skin testing protocol known as provocation neutralization testing, rather than conventional allergy tests.