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http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/07/13/insufficient-vitamin-d-tied-to-severe-asthma-attacks.aspx

THIS Asthma Solution Costs No Money…


Posted By Dr. Mercola | July 13 2010 | 168,751 views



Asthmatic children with low blood vitamin D levels may have a greater
risk of suffering severe asthma attacks.

A study followed more than 1,000 children with asthma for four years,
and found those with vitamin-D insufficiency at the outset were more
likely to have an asthma attack that required a trip to the hospital.

Reuters reports:

“When the researchers considered other factors -- including the
severity of the children's asthma at the study's start, their weight
and their family income -- vitamin D insufficiency itself was linked
to a 50 percent increase in the risk of severe asthma attacks.”
Sources:
Reuters June 23, 2010

Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology June 8, 2010 [Epub ahead
of print]

Eurekalert June 25, 2010

Eurekalert June 23, 2010

Phytotherapy Research June 14, 2010 [Epub ahead of print]



Dr. Mercola's Comments:


Vitamin D never ceases to amaze, and research into its impact on non-
bone related diseases continues to yield positive results.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a variety of health
conditions, from depression to autoimmune disorders, to colds and flu,
to cancer, and now asthma, and even cognitive function.

This is good news.

Asthma has increased by more than 300 percent over the last two
decades, now affecting some 20 million Americans, and if vitamin D is
even partially responsible for this meteoric rise in prevalence, then
the answer is literally right outside your door.

Millions of people are needlessly exposing themselves to the dangers
inherent with the standard drug treatments for asthma. Advair, for
example, contains the long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) salmeterol,
which can actually increase the severity of an asthma attack.

Researchers estimate that salmeterol may contribute to as many as
5,000 asthma-related deaths in the United States each year.
Conventional asthma treatments can also increase your risk of heart
disease and osteoporosis, just to name a few.

This is why it’s so important to start focusing our attention on
simple, effective, and infinitely safer methods, such as increasing
vitamin D levels, to combat the underlying cause of this growing
health problem.

Vitamin D Deficiency and Asthma at All Time Highs
Right now, only 5 to 37 percent of American infants meet the standard
for vitamin D set by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which will
make them prime candidates for a slew of future health problems
related to vitamin D deficiency – one of them being asthma.

At the end of 2008, the American Academy of Pediatrics doubled its
recommended dose of vitamin D for infants, children and adolescents,
raising it from 200 to 400 units per day. But research published
earlier that same year revealed children may need ten times that
amount in order to receive the health benefits that optimal vitamin D
levels have to offer.

Many mothers also are vitamin D-deficient, which is another
contributor to asthma. A 2007 study showed that poor diet and lack of
vitamin D during pregnancy were the determining factors in whether
their children suffered from asthma by the age of five.

In addition, this latest study published in the Journal of Allergy and
Clinical Immunology confirms previous findings, showing that asthmatic
children with low blood vitamin D levels also have an increased risk
of suffering severe asthma attacks.

According to this study, vitamin D insufficiency itself was linked to
a 50 percent increase in the risk of severe asthma attacks.

This makes sense, as a number of other studies have confirmed that
there’s an inverse association between respiratory infections and
vitamin D levels in children. This is likely because vitamin D
upregulates a specific gene that produces over 200 anti-microbial
peptides, some of which work like a broad-spectrum antibiotic.

In addition, optimizing your overall immune function is an essential
part of treating asthma, and vitamin D is proven to be an incredibly
powerful immune modulator, which is why optimizing your vitamin D
levels is so essential.

Beware: Conventional Vitamin D Recommendations are Still Too Low
Based on the latest research, many experts now agree you need about 35
IU’s of vitamin D per pound of body weight. This recommendation also
includes children, the elderly and pregnant women.

This is a far cry from the 200-600 IU’s currently recommended by our
health agencies.

Remember, however, that vitamin D requirements are highly individual.

Your vitamin D status is dependent on several factors, such as the
color of your skin, your location, and how much sunshine you’re
exposed to on a regular basis. So, although these recommendations may
put you closer to the level of what most people likely need, it is
virtually impossible to make a blanket recommendation that will cover
everyone.

The only accurate way to determine your optimal dose is to get your
blood tested. Ideally, you’ll want to maintain a vitamin D level of at
least 50ng/ml and perhaps as high as 80-90 ng/ml year-round.

For in-depth information about safe sun exposure, dosing and other
recommendations to safely and effectively optimize your vitamin D
levels, please review this previous article.

Additional Safe and Effective Strategies to Treat Asthma
Although asthma is a serious disease, safely treating your asthma is
not complicated.

Optimizing your vitamin D levels is the first step, but there are
other simple strategies that can help treat the root of the problem as
well.

In my experience, the following strategies are highly effective when
treating asthma:

•Increase your intake of animal-based omega 3 fats and reduce your
intake of processed omega 6 fats
•Consider the hygiene hypothesis – There’s a tendency in our modern
culture to be obsessive about cleanliness, but this may not be as
healthy as initially thought. It appears that being exposed to common
bacterial and viral infections as a child can be instrumental in
providing the stimulus to your immune system to prevent asthma
naturally.
•Get regular exercise – Exercise (especially out in fresh air if
you’re an asthmatic) is actually crucial, as it helps to moderate
insulin levels. It increases your insulin receptor sensitivity, and as
a result your body produces less insulin, which tends to optimize it.
•Purify your indoor air
•Avoid all commercial milk products. They are notorious for making
asthma worse. If you consume milk at all, use only raw milk products
from grass-fed cows, but even then be careful and take note of whether
or not the raw milk is making your asthma better or worse.
•Eat foods rich in vitamin E. Much like vitamin D, higher vitamin E
intake has also been associated with lower serum IgE concentrations
and a lower frequency of allergen sensitization.
•Hydrate well. You will want to make sure you drink enough clean pure
water to turn your urine a light color of yellow, as dehydration will
clearly worsen asthma.
•Try some Butterbur (Petasites hybridus). This perennial shrub has
been used since ancient times to treat a variety of conditions. As far
back as the 17th century, butterbur was used to treat coughs, asthma,
and skin wounds. Researchers have since identified the compounds in
butterbur that help reduce symptoms in asthma by inhibiting
leukotrienes and histamines, which are responsible for symptom
aggravation in asthma. In one study, 40 percent of patients taking a
butterbur root extract were able to reduce their intake of traditional
asthma medications.
•Build your immune system with allergy testing. In my experience,
conventional testing does not work very effectively and there is a
fair amount of risk. A far better intradermal skin test is the
provocation neutralization testing. The American Academy of
Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has a list of physicians who are trained
in this highly effective technique.
The Link Between Asthma and Allergies
In addition to the 20 million Americans suffering from asthma, another
60 million are affected by allergic rhinitis, or ‘hay fever.’

The hidden link between asthma and allergies?

Again, vitamin D deficiency!

So whether you’re an asthmatic or suffer from allergies, optimizing
your vitamin D levels should be at the top of your list.

For natural allergy relief, another recent study found that
Pycnogenol®, an antioxidant plant extract derived from the bark of the
French maritime pine tree can offer significant relief.

Although it won’t treat the root cause of the problem, it may be worth
a try to get relief from the symptoms, which can be quite debilitating
for some, such as itchy rashes, swelling, hives, and excessive mucous.

..
Vitamin D is Important for Thinking Clearly Too
As I mentioned at the beginning, scientists have also found more
evidence linking vitamin D and cognitive function, by studying seniors
receiving home care. Cognitive function is the level at which your
brain is able to manage and use available information for daily
activities.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, vitamin D receptors have been
identified throughout the human body, and scientists have shown that
vitamin D influences at least 3,000 different genes. So it is no
surprise that metabolic pathways for vitamin D also exist in your
brain. In this case, researchers located pathways in the hippocampus
and cerebellum of the brain.

These are the areas of your brain that are involved in planning,
processing of information, and the formation of new memories.

Of the 1,000 participants, only 35 percent had sufficient vitamin D
levels.

Keep in mind that “sufficient levels” in this case are based on the
conventional recommendation, which states that 15 ng/ml is sufficient
for bone- and overall health.

We now know this is woefully inadequate for most.

Experts now believe the optimal level for general health lies between
50-70 ng/ml.

Still, participants with higher vitamin D levels performed better on
cognitive tests than those who were deficient.

Other studies have also provided evidence that vitamin D is involved
in brain function by promoting detoxification of damaging heavy
metals. One such study showed that vitamin D helps remove mercury by
radically increasing intracellular glutathione.

As you can see, there’s plenty of reasons to check your vitamin D
levels, if you haven’t done so already, to make sure you’re within the
optimal range.

For more information about the numerous health benefits of vitamin D,
please review the related articles listed below.




Related Links:
Which Vitamin Will Improve Your Life Expectancy the Most?

What is the Real Cause of Influenza Epidemics?

Is This the New Silver Bullet for Cancer?



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