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Let's put vitamin D in the water

January 28, 2010 |  6:11 am

Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin via sunlight. But according to piles of research in recent years, most people aren't getting enough of the nutrient, and deficiencies may contribute to cancer, diabetes and cognitive decline. The latest study links vitamin D deficiency and asthma.

Asthma In a study at National Jewish Health in Denver, researchers found that adult asthma patients with the highest levels of vitamin D in their blood had better lung function compared with people with the lowest levels.  Higher vitamin D levels were associated with an increased response to dexamethasone, an inhaled steroid that many patients use to control their symptoms. The study, published today in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, also found that obese asthma patients tended to have lower vitamin D levels.

"Our findings suggest that vitamin D levels influence a number of important features of asthma, including lung function, bronchospasm and therapeutic response to steroids," Dr. Rand Sutherland, chief of the pulmonary division at National Jewish Health, said in a news release. "The next question to answer is whether giving supplemental vitamin D will lead to clinical improvements in patients with asthma. We are developing prospective studies to answer that."

Here's an August 2009 Los Angeles Times story discussing the emerging research on vitamin D deficiency. Maybe adding it to water isn't a great idea, but neither is overexposure to sunlight. Supplements anyone?

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Getty Images