Asthma has become more prevalent over the past decade. Many patients have managed their asthma with medication and by avoiding environmental triggers.
According to a new study published last week in Nature, researchers demonstrated Lactobacillus supplementation improves asthma severity in children with asthma.
This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial included 160 children ranging from 6 to 18 years of age with asthma. Each child received either a supplement of Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus fermentum, a combination of the two, or a placebo for 3 months.
Researchers assessed disease severity, immune markers, and quality of life. This included their Global Initiative for Asthma-based asthma severity, Childhood Asthma Control Test (C-ACT) scores, Pediatric Asthma Severity Scores, Pediatric Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire scores, peak expiratory flow rates, medication use, and immune biomarkers (IgE, interferon γ, IL-4, and TNF-α). Compared with the placebo group, the children receiving Lactobacillus containing probiotics all had lower asthma severity and higher C-ACT scores. In addition, the group that received both Lactobacillus strains demonstrated increased peak expiratory flow rates and lower IgE levels. These findings indicate that Lactobacillus probiotics may have immunomodulatory effects and should be considered for inclusion in strategies to support children with asthma.
Low serum vitamin D levels have also been linked to an increased risk of asthma. A study published in 2014 in the journal Allergy demonstrated that vitamin D can help manage asthma. Researchers analyzed the medical records of approximately four million members of Clalit Health Services, Israel's largest health care provider. The vitamin D levels of 307,900 people were measured between 2008 and 2012. Asthma patients with a vitamin D deficiency were 25% more likely than other asthmatics to have had at least one flare-up in the recent past.
Vitamin D has significant immunomodulatory effects and has been shown to have a positive impact on asthma.
These results demonstrate the link between vitamin D and asthma, and the beneficial effects of vitamin D in reducing exacerbations. Asthma patients who experience recurrent exacerbations should have their vitamin D levels measured and supplement if warranted. Increasing vitamin D levels is a simple and inexpensive way to improve patients' quality of life.
Other nutrients to consider to relax the airways and provide anti-inflammatory properties include magnesium, vitamin C, and fish oil.
By Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS
Source: Huang CF, Chie, WC, et al. Efficacy of Lactobacillus Administration in School-Age Children with Asthma: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2018 Nov 5;10(11). pii: E1678. doi: 10.3390/nu10111678.