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Vitamin D, omega-3s, zinc and folic acid strengthen lungs in children

Vitamin D reduced childhood asthma; omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D and zinc together improved asthma symptoms in kids; and folic acid relieved allergies, three new studies reveal.

Doctors in a vitamin D study explained that asthma is increasing in industrialized nations and went to Costa Rica, where asthma rates are high, to examine children six to 14 years old. Researchers measured vitamin D levels in about 600 children and found that over one-quarter had low levels of vitamin D and that signs of allergy increased as vitamin D levels decreased. Kids with low vitamin D were more likely to be hospitalized for asthma, to use a corticosteroid inhaler and to have hypersensitive air passageways compared to kids with good vitamin D levels.

In another asthma study, 60 children with moderately persistent asthma, average age 8, took 300 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid/docosahexaenoic acid (EPA/DHA) per day, 15 mg of zinc per day or 200 mg of vitamin C per day, separately or together, for six weeks. Lung function and signs of inflammation improved with each supplement individually and improved the most when kids took omega-3, zinc and vitamin C together.

In a folic acid study, researchers from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, Maryland, reviewed the medical records of over 8,000 people, aged two to 85, and found that those with the highest folate levels were 28 percent less likely to have wheezing compared to those with the lowest levels. Those with the highest folate levels were 23 percent less likely to have allergy or allergic symptoms and 14 percent less likely to have asthma. Doctors concluded, “Our findings are a clear indication that folic acid may indeed help regulate immune response to allergens and may reduce allergy and asthma symptoms.” 

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