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English

Lack of vitamin D increases the likelihood of suffering from asthma

In a study carried out on children, approximately half had a vitamin D deficiency, which is a risk factor which could cause inflammation of the bronchia and diminish the lung immune system.

Bogotá D. C., 23 de mayo de 2016Agencia de Noticias UN-

Children with vitamin D deficiency have more episodes of asthma crises.

Vitamin D contributes to strengthen lung tissue.

Solar exposure enables greater blood vitamin D levels.

Children now spend less time exposed to the sun.

It is recommendable to take sun baths before 10:00 am and after 3:00 pm.

Vitamin D may also be consumed through dairy products and cereals.

The study identified 48 children between 5 and 15 years of age diagnosed with asthma and which had pediatric pneumology outpatient appointments. Furthermore 48% of the cases had vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency. 

Additionally 50% of the cases had had crisis episodes in the last six months. 

For the research project children with asthma that went to monthly or trimonthly control appointments were recruited for the study. Every child was tested for vitamin D levels to link it to the behavior of the disease. 

According to Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) Researcher and Pediatric Specialist Alexandra Mora, 58.33% of the patients had been classified as having “uncontrolled asthma” and those which had low levels of vitamin D had the greatest amount of hospitalizations and crises in the last six weeks. 

“We discovered that vitamin D has an important role in the lungs because it activates the immune activity and response of the lungs to viral infections,” said Mora. 

Bronchia have vitamin D receptors and when there is a vitamin D deficiency, ducts become inflamed. Also the pulmonary hila, which are in charge of sweeping the mucous from the ducts become inflamed. 

Mora says that if a child does not have optimum levels of vitamin D him/she will have greater tendency for the lung to be inflamed and infect more easily. 

“Research has shown the vitamin D acts on the lung tissue, improving immune response, reducing inflammation, slowing down cell cycles and diminishing hyperplasia. The vitamin also has the potential to diminish asthma severity, such as reducing the frequency and seriousness of crises and improving response to treatment,” said Mora. 

Although other research has been performed on adult patients and in other countries, very few have been carried out in tropical countries. 

In Colombia, prevalence of asthma in the general population is approximately 12%, 36.5% in children under 5 years of age and 30.4% in children between 5 and 17 years old. 

In Colombia this deficiency is not so significant due to the lack of seasons and that there is sun exposure, one of the main sources or vitamin D year round. 

However the study showed that due to changing customs children are now more sedentary and spend much less time outside, hence the deficiency of this vitamin. 

Most of the children surveyed said they do not spend more than an hour exposed to the sun and the parents replied their children only received about half an hour of sun during a break in school. 

“Solar exposure transforms on the skin to warrant good vitamin D blood levels, although it may be also obtained through food such as yogurt, pasta, cereals and some vegetables,” she said. 

Mora recommends children to take sun baths before 10:00 am and after 3:00 pm through outside activities such as walking to school or playing in the park.

(Por: Fin/VC/MLA/APBL
)
N.° 754

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