Friday, June 19, 2009


People suffering from respiratory problems like asthma can find some relief by generating more Vitamin D within the body as one of its analogs, calcitriol was found to slow down airway modification that causes breathing difficulties. Similarly caffeine consumption in moderate amounts is claimed to reduce discomforts associated with asthma. These two distinctly different chemical moieties act in different ways in bringing relief to asthmatics but can be brought to gether in a single delivery system convenient to the consumer.

Calcitriol is a form of Vitamin D3 synthesized in the body and is involved in some critical functions like increased calcium absorption, stimulation of osteoclastic resorption from bone, facilitation of the effect of para thyroid hormone( PTH) on bone resorption and increase of renal tubular absorption of calcium. Cells of the proximate tubule of the nephron in the kidney are stimulated by hypocalcemia, hypophosphatemia and PTH for production of calcitriol. Recent finding that calcitriol has good anti-inflammatory property and is involved in inhibition of smooth muscle cell proliferation has made this vitamin more useful to tackle inflammation related ailments. Calcitriol is the preferred therapy against psoriasis and it could be effective therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) also as it reduces pro-inflammatory cytokinin secretions in COPD. Many studies have been able to bring out the inverse relationship between Vit D content in the blood and severity of asthma symptoms indicating the role of this vitamin in manifestation of asthma. Lower the level of Vit D, more severe will be the asthmatic symptoms.

Calcitriol, which is available in synthetic form, has been found to slow down the progressive decline in the lung function of asthmatics and their ability to breathe as a result of human airway smooth muscle (HASM) proliferation. In vitro studies have demonstrated the ability of calcitriol to reduce the growth factor induced HASM proliferation in cells isolated from persons suffering from this ailment. Airway remodeling takes place as a result of asthma which causes reduced lung function progressively. Vit D therapy can slow down such remodeling of the airway and consequently arrest the decline in breathing ability avoiding dangerous asthmatic attacks.

Caffeine which is often derided as a villain for many unsubstantiated health problems appears as a savior for asthmatics since it was found to exert beneficial influence on asthma symptoms. In fact caffeine was as effective as the commonly used medication, albuterol inhaler. Caffeine at levels of 3-9 mg per kg body weight significantly reduced wheezing, coughing and other symptoms of some forms of asthma. Some believe that due to similarity in structure between caffeine and theophylline used by asthma patients, the mode of action could be same. Caffeine is known to decrease bronchoconstriction and the relief due to its consumption could be on account of this property. Two cups of strong coffee or hot cocoa or 2 chocolate bars can be expected to be helpful in getting short term relief from asthma symptoms. How ever this cannot be a substitute to doctor-recommended medication.

Industry should be looking for appropriate product formulations that contain calcitriol and caffeine targeted at those consumers vulnerable to asthma symptoms regularly. Consumption of such products can give relief up to 4 hours after ingestion. Regular consumption of fresh food materials like citrus fruits, broccoli, squash, brussel sprouts, wheat germ, raw onion, salmon, Brazil nuts, spinach containing Vit C, Beta carotene and/or omega-3 fatty acids also provide good relief to lung diseases like asthma. More attention to food by those vulnerable to breathing difficulties due to lung related problems can bring rich rewards in terms of alleviation of the undesirable symptoms.


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