Asthma Exacerbations May Be Alleviated With Vitamin D Supplementation

Vitamin D pills
Vitamin D pills
Asthma exacerbations may be reduced with vitamin D supplementation.

Vitamin D supplementation may reduce the rate of asthma exacerbations requiring systemic corticosteroid treatment, according to a study published in Lancet Respiratory Medicine

Researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of 7 double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trials of vitamin D supplementation in patients with asthma. The trials included a total of 955 participants. An overall systematic analysis, one-step, and two-step analyses were performed on the 7 studies from 6 different countries.

The primary outcome of the review was to determine the number of asthma exacerbations that required treatment with systemic corticosteroids.

Study results showed an overall reduction in the rate of asthma exacerbations that required systemic corticosteroids in those treated with vitamin D supplements compared with placebo (adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR], 0.74; 95% CI, 0.56-0.97; P =.03; 955 participants in 7 studies; high-quality evidence). In addition, protective effects were noted in participants who had baseline 25(OH)D <25 nmol/L (aIRR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.11-0.98; P =.046; 92 participants in 3 studies; moderate-quality evidence). Protective effects were not noted in participants with higher baseline 25(OH)D levels (aIRR, 0.77; 95% CI, 0.58-1.03; P =.08; 764 participants in 6 studies; moderate-quality evidence; Pinteraction =.25).

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Investigators concluded that, overall, vitamin D supplementation reduced the rate of asthma exacerbations requiring systemic corticosteroids, and effects did not differ across subgroups of patients. Clinicians should consider treating patients with asthma with supplemental vitamin D as a potentially cost-effective strategy to reduce morbidity and mortality.


Jolliffe DA, Greenberg L, Hooper RL, et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent asthma exacerbations: a systemic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data [published online October 3, 2017]. Lancet Respir Med. doi:10.1016/S2213-2600(17)30346-5