Story by: Norton Children’s on October 29, 2021
Are there foods that help asthma? There are indications that foods laden with vitamin D, such as oily fish like salmon, egg yolks, and fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants may help asthma, but there’s a shortage of solid evidence.
Obesity is a major risk factor for asthma, so eating well and maintaining a healthy weight can help with symptoms and asthma control. It is also important to continue all asthma therapies prescribed by your child’s healthcare provider.
Children and adults with asthma often have low levels of vitamin D, which is helpful in fighting inflammation.
“It is rare to get too much vitamin D especially from food alone. If you feel you need a vitamin D supplement reach out to your health care providers. Working with a registered dietitian can help you find the right balance of nutrients to help ease your asthma symptoms,” said Laura Dean, R.D., a dietitian with Norton Children’s Pulmonology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine.
Laura works with children who have asthma and guides them on which foods to eat.
Vitamin D-rich foods that may help asthma
Vitamins C and E and antioxidants such as beta carotenes are found in fruits and vegetables and may help reduce lung inflammation. It’s suspected that cutting back on salt and increasing omega-3 fatty acids from foods such as salmon can ease asthma symptoms, but there hasn’t been enough research for verification.
Your body naturally makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, so being outside and mindful of protecting your skin can be a good source of vitamin D.
Whether vitamin D supplements can help asthma is still being studied.
A clinical trial is currently underway at Norton Children’s Pulmonology to determine whether kids who are overweight or obese and have asthma can benefit from vitamin D supplements.
“We’ve already seen that kids with low levels of vitamin D are more likely to have worse asthma symptoms. Foods that are high in vitamin D may help reduce symptoms, and now we’re trying to determine if vitamin D pills can help and, if so, what dose is best,” said Scott Bickel M.D., a pediatric pulmonologist with Norton Children’s Pulmonology and principal investigator on the clinical trial. Dr. Bickel also co-authored a paper in Pediatric Pulmonology last year exploring the role vitamin D supplements may play in helping asthma.