Introduction Vitamin D is best known for its role in bone health; however, the discovery of the vitamin D receptor and the expression of the gene encoding the vitamin D 1α-hydroxylase (CYP27B1) enzyme in a wide variety of tissues including immune cells and respiratory epithelium has led to the discovery of potential roles for vitamin D in the prevention of acute wheeze.
Methods We review here the literature concerning the relationships between circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration and secondary prevention of acute wheeze attacks in preschool and school-age children.
Results Epidemiological data suggest that vitamin D insufficiency (25(OH)D <75 nmol/L) is highly prevalent in preschool and school-age children with wheeze. Preschool age children with a history of wheeze attacks and circulating 25(OH)D <75 nmol/L are at increased risk and frequency of future acute wheeze. However, no consistent association between low vitamin D status and risk of acute wheeze is reported in school-age children. Seven randomised controlled trials (RCTs) with relatively small sample sizes (30–430) and variable quality showed inconsistent results regarding the effect of oral vitamin D supplementation during childhood on the risk of asthma attacks, asthma symptom control, inhaled corticosteroid requirements, spirometry and unscheduled healthcare attendances for wheeze. A RCT showed that vitamin D supplementation had no effect on the frequency of unplanned healthcare attendances due to acute wheeze in 22 preschool children.
Discussion An evidence-based recommendation for the use of vitamin D as a preventive therapy for wheeze attacks cannot be made until results of further trials are available. The assessment of circulating 25(OH)D concentration and the optimisation of vitamin D status to prevent acute respiratory tract infections, and to maintain skeletal and general health in preschool and school-age children with acute wheeze is worthwhile in its own right, but whether this will reduce the risk of acute wheeze attacks is unclear.
- vitamin D
- acute wheeze secondary prevention
- 25-hydroxyvitamin D
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.