London, May 20 (IANS) Time spent by asthma patients soaking up the sun may help in the treatment of the illness, a research has said.
A team of scientists at King’s College London said vitamin D, which is made by the body in sunlight, calms an “over-active” part of the immune system in asthma, BBC reported.
However, treating patients with vitamin D has not yet been tested.
People with asthma find it hard to breathe when their airways become inflamed, swollen and narrowed.
Most people are treated with steroids, but the drugs do not work for everyone.
“We know people with high levels of vitamin D are better able to control their asthma – that connection is quite striking,” researcher Catherine Hawrylowicz told BBC.
The group investigated the impact of the vitamin on a chemical in the body, interleukin-17.
The chemical is a vital part of the immune system and helps to fight off infections.
However, it can cause problems when levels get too high and has been strongly implicated in asthma.
In the study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, vitamin D was able to lower levels of interleukin-17 when it was added to blood samples taken from 28 patients.
The team is now conducting clinical trials to see if giving the sunshine vitamin to patients could ease their symptoms.
They are looking at patients who do not respond to steroids as they produce seven times more interleukin-17 than other patients.
Catherine Hawrylowicz said a culture of covering up in the sun and using sun cream may have increased asthma rates, but also said that “too much sun is bad for you”.