A new study finds vitamin D may be protective among asthmatic obese children living in urban environments with high indoor air pollution. The study out of John Hopkins University School of Medicine, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, was published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.
“The research team has identified many factors that make children susceptible to health problems from air pollution throughout Baltimore’s inner city,” said Kimberly Gray, Ph.D., administrator for the Children’s Environmental Health Research Centers program at NIEHS.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 12 children in the U.S. have asthma, which totals 6.1 million children nationally. Additionally, asthma disproportionately impacts urban minority populations, such as black children. Higher indoor air pollution, from sources such as cigarette smoke, cooking, burning of candles, and incense, is linked to greater respiratory problems, including worsening of asthma symptoms and more hospital visits. “Asthma is an immune-mediated disease,” said Sonali Bose, M.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of medicine, pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and adjunct faculty at Johns Hopkins. “From previous scientific studies, we knew that vitamin D was a molecule that may influence asthma by impacting antioxidant or immune-related pathways.”