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Should Facebook users take vitamin D to prevent asthma attacks?

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A prestigious medical journal called The Lancet published a case report suggesting that using Facebook could put an asthmatic user at risk of having episodes of asthma attacks.

According to the report by Dr. Gennaro D'Amato of the High Specialty Hospital A Cardarelli in Naples, Italy, a 18 year-old young man was dumped and unfriended by his girlfriend who sooner started friending other men.

Then the young man, whose name was not cited in the report, was able to create a new nickname on Facebook- the world-famous social networking site and added his ex once again.

After that, the man read through pages and pictures that apparently made him very uncomfortable and he became so stressful that he started suffering an episode of asthma attack.

The man was said to have a history of asthma, but he could otherwise control the condition well.

After the Facebook event, he recovered after quitting Facebook and consulting with his doctor and a psychiatrist, according to media reports.

Some experts said any stress when it reaches some level can trigger asthma in asthmatic people.  Facebook is not unique in this respect.

Sufficient serum levels of vitamin D may help asthmatic people

What can asthmatic people do to prevent a Facebook-induced asthma attack?  Studies suggest maintaining high serum levels of vitamin D may help.

One study in the Sep 25, 2010 issue of Journal of Pediatrics found asthmatic people with low levels of vitamin D had a hard time controlling asthma.

The study led by Chinellato I. and colleagues from Department of Pediatrics University of Verona in Verona, Italy found among children with asthma only 9.4 percent had sufficient level of 25(OH)D or at least 30 to 40 ng/mL.

But the study was conducted during the winter and early spring when people normally have low levels of vitamin D.

For the study, the researchers measured 25-hydroxycholecalciferol or 25(OH)D concentrations and assessed baseline spirometry and levels of asthma control in 75 children aged 5 to 11 years with asthma.

The researchers found children who had their asthma well controlled had higher serum levels of 25(OH)D than those who had their asthma controlled only partially or could not have the condition controlled.

The authors said "Our results indicate that hypovitaminosis D is frequent in children with asthma living in a Mediterranean country. In those children, lower levels of vitamin D are associated with reduced asthma control."

Jimmy Downs

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