More sunshine could help asthma patients
What does getting a tan have to do with asthma? Well, maybe not a tan specifically, but spending more time out in the sun could be beneficial to asthma patients. When a person absorbs sunlight, the body produces vitamin D, which is thought to calm the over-active part of the immune system associated with asthma. And a new study from King's College London tied low levels of vitamin D to worsening symptoms of asthma, whereas symptoms could be controlled by increasing vitamin D levels.
In this study, the researchers investigated the impact of vitamin D on the chemical interleukin-17, which is vital to the immune system to help fight infections. However, high levels of this chemical have been linked to asthma and other complications. The researchers took blood samples from 28 asthma patients with high levels of interleukin-17. Vitamin D was then added to the blood samples, and the chemical levels were reduced, leading the researchers to draw a correlation between the two.
While the researchers suggested that the emphasis on using sunscreen and covering up may play in role in rising asthma rates, they also warn that too much sun can be bad for you and that sunburns do not equate to great vitamin D benefits.