WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (UPI) -- Adding vitamin D supplements to asthma medication may be able to significantly reduce the severity of attacks, according to a recent Cochrane Review.
Researchers conducting the review, published in the journal Cochrane Library, noted increased risk of asthma attacks has been linked to low levels of vitamin D in the blood. The research team says their findings suggest correcting these proportions can reduce attacks.
"We found that taking a vitamin D supplement in addition to standard asthma treatment significantly reduced the risk of severe asthma attached, without causing side effects," lead author Adrian Martineau said in a press release.
The team looked at the effectiveness of vitamin D supplementation in seven trials involving 435 children and two studies involving 658 adults. The subjects were ethnically diverse, and all had mild to severe levels of asthma. Trials were conducted for periods between 6 and 12 months.
After the participants were administered oral vitamin D supplements, the team noted hospital admission and emergency department attendance dropped from 6 percent to approximately 3 percent. In addition, they also noted a decrease in the amount of asthma attacks which required treatment with steroid tablets.
Despite the positive results, the review's authors note the supplements in the experiments did not improve day-to-day lung function, and say further research is needed.
"This is an exciting result, but some caution is warranted," Martineau added. "Further analyses to investigate this questions are on-going, and results should be available in the next few months."