Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oral Steroids, Asthma and Vitamin D Deficiency

There is a lot of information coming out on the internet about this subject. Researchers in the U.S. found that those taking Oral Steroids were likely to suffer severe Vitamin D Deficiency. As much as twice as likely than others. Children under 18 were found to be at highest risk. They went further and said that the steroids actually cause Vitamin D Deficiency. They believe oral steroids may do this by increasing the level of an enzyme that inactivates Vitamin D. I knew that some medications could block Vitamin D absorption in our bodies so this is exciting to hear that in this case, an enzyme can inactivate Vitamin D.

There are different types of steroids and this research found oral steroids to be the culprit as opposed to inhaled steroids. Although inhaled steroids are used to treat asthma, they mostly only affect the lungs. Oral steroids are often used to treat an asthma attack and can spread through and affect the whole body.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Over 30,000 adults and children were involved in the study and had participated from 2001 through 2006 in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. NHANES is a unique program of studies that investigates the health and nutrition of people living in the U.S. through both physical exams and interviews.

Dr. Amy Skversky, assistant professor of pediatrics at Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York City is the lead author of the study. She advised that doctors should make sure to monitor patients who are on steroids for Vitamin D levels.