Study finds children with vitamin D deficiency more likely to develop asthma
Australian researchers in a world’s first study have found that children with vitamin deficiency were more likely to develop asthma and other allergies later on in life.
Researchers from Western Australia’s Telethon Kids Institute on Tuesday disclosed in Sydney, Australia, that the study had been published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology on Tuesday.
They said they tracked vitamin D levels from birth to age 10 in Perth and found that children were at high risk of developing asthma and allergies as they grew older if they lacked the nutrient at a young age.
Dr. Elysia Hollams, the study’s Lead Author, said the findings also showed that repeated bouts of vitamin D deficiency in early childhood were linked to higher rates of asthma at age 10, as well as allergy and eczema.
Hollams said the findings showed that vitamin D played an important role in regulating the immune system and promoting healthy lung development.
She added that “our study is the first to track vitamin D levels from birth to asthma onset, and it has shown a clear link between prolonged vitamin D deficiency in early childhood and the development of asthma.
Hollams said: “We’ve also found for the first time that babies deficient in vitamin D have higher levels of potentially harmful bacteria in their upper airways, and are more susceptible to severe respiratory infections.”
Hollams, however, cautioned against rushing out and purchasing vitamin D supplements as more research needed to be done in the field.
She said: “We still don’t know what the optimal level of vitamin D is for good lung health and immune function.
“We don’t know if supplementation will address this issue, or if healthy sun exposure is what is required, given that vitamin D is an indirect measure of recent sun exposure.”