Boosting Vitamin D levels can help manage asthma in sufferers, a new study has found.
Asthma, which inflames and narrows the airways, has no known cure but it can be managed with medication and by avoiding allergens and other triggers.
The new study by Tel Aviv University researchers found that catching some rays outside could be a convenient, free way to manage acute asthmatic episodes.
Dr Ronit Confino-Cohen of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and her team analysed the medical records of nearly 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. Researchers also took into account key predictors of asthma, such as obesity, smoking, and other chronic diseases.
Of some 21,000 asthma patients in Israel studied, those with a Vitamin D deficiency were 25 per cent more likely than other asthmatics to have had at least one flare-up in the recent past.
The researchers found that Vitamin D-deficient asthmatics were at a higher risk of an asthma attack.
"Our results add more evidence to the link between Vitamin D and asthma, suggesting beneficial effects of Vitamin D on asthma exacerbations," said Confino-Cohen.
Based on the findings, the researchers recommend that people whose asthma cannot be controlled with existing treatments have their Vitamin D levels tested. For those with a vitamin D deficiency, supplements may make sense.
The study is published in the journal Allergy.