Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways, most commonly driven by immuno-inflammatory responses to ubiquitous airborne antigens. Epidemiological studies have shown that disease is initiated early in life when the immune and respiratory systems are functionally immature and less able to maintain homeostasis in the face of continuous antigen challenge. In other words, the airway hyper-responsiveness measures the air passages’ tendency to constrict, leading to breathing difficulty.
Rresearchers found that hyper-responsiveness was twice as high in patients with vitamin D levels below 30 nanograms per milliliter, lung function was worse, and the body responded more poorly to steroid therapy. Worse, the bodies of people with low vitamin D levels produced more of the immune system signaling chemical TNF-alpha, which increases inflammation. Consistent with many studies, that overweight or obese participants are were significantly more likely to suffer from vitamin D deficiency because fat sequesters vitamin D in the body, thus people with more body fat need higher levels of the vitamin. Children are also vulnerable and, without adequate vitamin D, are prone to become asthmatics. (Source) Asthma treatment can also in turn increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency.
“It is … known that glucocorticoids [steroids used in asthma treatment] increase the destruction of vitamin D, thus making patients with asthma at higher risk for vitamin D deficiency, which in turn decreases lung function and makes their disease worse,” said Michael F. Holick, of Boston University.
“RATIONALE: Patients with asthma exhibit variable response to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Vitamin D is hypothesized to exert effects on phenotype and glucocorticoid (GC) response in asthma. OBJECTIVES: To determine the effect of vitamin D levels on phenotype and GC response in asthma. (…) CONCLUSIONS: In asthma, reduced vitamin D levels are associated with impaired lung function, increased AHR, and reduced GC response, suggesting that supplementation of vitamin D levels in patients with asthma may improve multiple parameters of asthma severity and treatment response…” Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2010 Apr 1;181(7):699-704. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200911-1710OC. Epub 2010 Jan 14. Vitamin D levels, lung function, and steroid response in adult asthma. Sutherland ER, Goleva E, Jackson LP, Stevens AD, Leung DY. Source Department of Medicine, University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA. Source
Top: purple passion fruit, whose extract may be safely offered to asthmatic patients as an alternative treatment option to reduce clinical symptoms. (Source)
“Asthma, affecting as many as 400 million individuals worldwide, is one of the most prevalent chronic health condition in the United States. With an increasing number of patients with asthma and the frequent inability of conventional lifestyle modification and therapy to effectively control the problem, nutritional and dietary therapies are being sought. This study was undertaken to investigate the efficacy of the purple passion fruit peel (PFP) extract, a novel mixture of bioflavonoids, on asthma symptoms. Patients with asthma were studied in a 4-week randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial with oral administration of PFP extract (150 mg/d) or placebo pills. The effects of PFP extract were evaluated by assessing the clinical symptoms of asthma and spirometry tests. Most clinical symptoms of asthma of the PFP extract-treated group were moderated significantly compared to the baseline. The prevalence of wheeze, cough, as well as shortness of breath was reduced significantly in group treated with PFP extract (P < .05), whereas the placebo caused no significant improvement. Purple passion fruit peel extract supplementation resulted in a marked increase in forced vital capacity (P < .05) as placebo showed no effect. However, no significant improvement was observed in the forced expiratory volume at 1 second of those supplemented with PFP extract. No adverse effect was reported by any of study participants. The PFP extract may be safely offered to asthmatic subjects as an alternative treatment option to reduce clinical symptoms” .Nutr Res. 2008 Mar;28(3):166-71. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2008.01.003. Oral administration of the purple passion fruit peel extract reduces wheeze and cough and improves shortness of breath in adults with asthma. Watson RR, Zibadi S, Rafatpanah H, Jabbari F, Ghasemi R, Ghafari J, Afrasiabi H, Foo LY, Faridhosseini R. Source Southwest Scientific Editing and Consulting L.L.C., Tucson, AZ 85749, USA.(Source)
Top: Probiotics, key for immune-regulation, proper digestion, inflammation control and asthma (Source)
“Increasing awareness of the role of intestinal commensal bacteria in the development and modulation of the immune system has led to great interest in the therapeutic potential of probiotics and other bacteria-based strategies for a range of immune-related disorders. Studies in animal models have identified strong immunomodulatory effects of many nonpathogenic bacteria and provided evidence that intestinal microbes can activate a common mucosal immune response and, thus, influence sites distant to the intestine, including the respiratory tract. Respiratory effects of probiotics in animal models have included attenuating allergic airway responses and protecting against respiratory pathogens. Dendritic cells appear central to directing the beneficial immune response to probiotic bacteria and in translating microbial signals from the innate to the adaptive immune system, whereas regulatory T cells are emerging as potentially key effectors of probiotic-mediated responses, particularly in the reduction of allergic inflammation. Despite progress in basic research, clinical trials of probiotics in allergy/asthma and respiratory infection have been highly variable at best, leading to an undermining of confidence in this potential therapeutic strategy. It is clear that there is still much to learn regarding the determinants of the diverse immune responses elicited by different bacterial strains. A deeper knowledge of the interactions between administered probiotics and the existing microbiota, together with an understanding of how the dialogue between microbes and the innate immune system is translated into beneficial/protective responses, will be required before we can achieve clinically effective bacteria-based strategies that maintain and promote respiratory health”. Chest. 2011 Apr;139(4):901-8. doi: 10.1378/chest.10-1861. Probiotics and lung diseases. Forsythe P. Source Brain-Body Institute and Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada. Source