Vitamin D test seeks subjects with asthma

Nov. 30, 2011 at 9:16 PM

CHICAGO, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The University of Illinois at Chicago is recruiting volunteers with asthma to help determine whether vitamin D can make asthma medication more effective.

Dr. Jerry Krishnan -- professor of medicine, pulmonary, critical care, sleep and allergy -- said the researchers are looking for participants who are age 18 or older and are using medications to control their asthma.

The researchers are looking for volunteers whose baseline vitamin D levels are low and whose asthma is not well controlled, Krishnan said.

"A number of people with asthma have low vitamin D levels," Krishnan said in a statement. "Patients with asthma and low vitamin D levels tend to have worse lung function, and tend to have more asthma attacks."

Study participants will receive vitamin D or a placebo and will continue on asthma medications. Over the course of nine months, the volunteers will have their lung function monitored.

"We want to understand if taking vitamin D allows their asthma to get better," Krishnan said.

The researchers said supplements might make it possible for people with low levels of vitamin D to use less asthma medication. However, taking vitamin D may result in side effects, so Krishnan warned against taking vitamin D for asthma outside of a study.

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