Asthma is a serious health problem in the United States and in other developed countries around the world. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the federal agency charged with tracking incidence of disease, about 17.7 million adults and 6.3 million children in the U.S. are living with asthma – a respiratory condition caused by inflammation and obstruction of the airways.
While the causes of asthma remain unclear and no cure for this disease has been found, its symptoms – such as wheezing, shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pain and tightness – can be triggered by exposure to allergens and irritants. These include grass or weed pollen, molds, dust mites, pollutions, smoke and other elements found in the air of urban environments.
There are medications which can help manage symptoms of these asthma attacks, but a new study suggests that a well-known and easily available vitamin may reduce the risks of this debilitating disease. Vitamin D has come to the forefront in the treatments for asthma and a long-time proponent of this vitamin – Terri DeNeui, founder of Evexias Medical Centers – was queried about its newly-discovered efficacy in treating this chronic disease.
Do you or someone you love suffer from asthma or get frequent colds? Vitamin D supplements may help. Contact us for a blood test to determine your Vitamin D level.
Vitamin D: Anti-Inflammatory and Immune Booster
Terri DeNeui, DNP, ACNP, APRN-BC was prescribing high doses of Vitamin D before it was fashionable to do so. She is passionate about its healing properties and offered some insights on why it works on so many different levels.
“Vitamin D has many benefits,” she said. “It’s a powerful anti-inflammatory and immune-booster. Since asthma is a disease of inflammation and someone suffering from this condition is susceptible to colds and flu, those two conditions combine to exacerbate the condition. Vitamin D treats both conditions.
“Irritants in the air such as smog can clog the bronchioles in the lung of someone with asthma,” she noted. “This discomfort and difficulty in breathing, however, is not due to air-intake. Asthma sufferers have trouble exhaling. This is due to inflammation of the tiny bronchioles in the lung; they start to spasm and then constrict. The person with asthma begins coughing and wheezing in an attempt to get the air out of their lungs.
“Another contributing factor to the incidence of this condition in urban areas is the lack of sunlight,” she said. “As we have previously noted, the best source of Vitamin D is from the sun.”
Medical science is still attempting to understand the chemical composition of Vitamin D and why it has such a positive effect on conditions such as asthma. Terri explains.
“We don’t really know what’s going on at the cellular level,” she smiled. “Vitamin D is a steroid and it resembles a hormone in the body on the cellular level, but we don’t know why, yet. But we know that low levels of Vitamin D have also been linked to cancer and heart disease.
Knocking Out Colds and Flu
“Since we are coming up on the cold and flu season, it is important to highlight the benefits of Vitamin D in prevention of these conditions,” Terri noted. “A Swedish study from a few years ago noted that a patient taking 50,000 units of Vitamin D over a three-day span would be completely well at the end of these three days. It completely wiped out those viruses!
“Children with asthma are particularly susceptible to colds and flu and I recommend these youngsters get plenty of Vitamin D supplements during the winter. In some countries, such as Sweden, where the winters are long and dark, the government mandates an increase in the dosage of Vitamin D and offers this free of charge.
“I believe children should get at least 2,000 units of Vitamin D daily and adults should get 5,000 units during the winter months.”
Testing for Vitamin D Levels and Supplement Quality
Evexias Medical Centers offers a simple blood test to help patients determine whether they have a Vitamin D deficiency.
“We check Vitamin D levels on every patient,” Terri noted. “What we have found is that about 80 percent of the patient population is Vitamin D deficient.
“It’s also important to make sure the Vitamin D supplements are of the highest quality,” she noted. “Purchasing these supplements from a ‘big box’ retailer is somewhat problematic. There is not an FDA overview on supplements in this country. In our practice, we use a pharmaceutical-grade Vitamin D and this is not a supplement one can get in a normal retail store. It is also important for patients who are taking Vitamin D to also take Vitamin K-2, which is also difficult to find.”
With a condition as acute as asthma, it is critical to consult one’s physician with any new developments. However, alternative therapies such as increasing Vitamin D are becoming more and more useful in treating this chronic condition.
To ascertain your level of Vitamin D, contact us for an appointment for a simple blood test. If you or someone you love has asthma, this is even more important!