In asthma, magnesium increased lung capacity and strength in adults, magnesium levels were lower in kids who used steroid treatments, and vitamin D improved lung function, three new studies reveal.
Doctors in an asthma study believe that magnesium is anti-inflammatory and increases the ability of the lungs to expand. Fifty-five adults with mild to moderate asthma, aged 21 to 55, took 340 mg of magnesium per day in two 170 mg doses or a placebo. Participants continued using a bronchodilator or inhaled steroids to control symptoms. After 28 weeks, compared to placebo, the magnesium group had 6 percent more lung capacity while exhaling and their air passageways stayed open much longer when doctors exposed the lungs to asthma triggers.
In another asthma study, researchers measured magnesium levels in 89 children, aged 5 to 15, who had chronic asthma. The kids were taking inhaled steroids to manage everyday asthma symptoms and oral steroids during severe flare-ups. Researchers found the more steroids kids had to take, the lower their magnesium levels, and that magnesium levels returned to normal when the kids stopped taking steroids. Doctors concluded that children should take a magnesium supplement when using steroids to treat asthma.
In another asthma study, researchers measured blood levels of vitamin D and lung function in 54 adults with asthma, average age 58. The average level of vitamin D was below the 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood doctors consider sufficient. As levels of vitamin D rose, power to exhale increased, lung inflammation decreased, and those with good vitamin D levels were able to use less steroid medication than those with lower vitamin D levels.