Low vitamin D levels are associated with increased risk of wheeze, especially in older adults

Published Online: August 1, 2011

Although recent guidelines from the Institute of Medicine recommend supplementation with vitamin D only for prevention of bone-related diseases, there is accumulating evidence that vitamin D deficiency is implicated in respiratory disease.

In a recent issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical and Immunology (JACI), Keet et al. assessed the relationship between serum vitamin D levels and self-reported wheeze and asthma in a large nationally representative survey (the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study 2005-2006).

Among 6,857 subjects, they found that lower serum vitamin D levels were associated with higher risk of both wheeze and asthma. Delving deeper, they report novel interactions between both age and atopic status and the relationship between vitamin D and wheeze.

In their findings, the relationship between wheeze and lower vitamin D levels was age-dependent, with a much stronger association in older subjects. In addition, although vitamin D deficiency has been associated with higher total IgE, the relationship between vitamin D and wheeze was independent of IgE levels, and was in fact stronger in non-atopic subjects. These findings suggest that vitamin likely affects respiratory health through multiple mechanisms, and underscore the need for more research in this area.


The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (JACI) is the official scientific journal of the AAAAI, and is the most-cited journal in the field of allergy and clinical immunology.

AAAAI - American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology