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Open Access

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Master of Science (M.S.)

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Month Degree Awarded



Serum 25(OH)D, Dietary Vitamin D, Asthma


Although maternal vitamin D status has been linked to asthma in offspring, the relationship between vitamin D status and asthma in adults still remains unclear. The current study assessed the relationship between measures of vitamin D status and self-reported asthma/wheeze in 186 healthy women aged 18-30 years. Although the risk of asthma/wheeze symptoms was three-times higher among women with low dietary vitamin D intake (<200 IU>/day) than in those with higher vitamin D intake, suboptimal serum levels of 25(OH)D ( <70 nmol>/L) were associated with a 48% lower risk of asthma/wheeze than “optimal” serum levels. These contradictory effects underscore the poor correlation between dietary vitamin D intake and serum vitamin levels and suggest that other components in vitamin D-rich foods may be protective. Alternatively, women with higher serum vitamin D levels may have spent more time outdoors, increasing their exposure to asthma triggers. This study also identified predictors of serum 25 (OH) D in this sample. In addition to total dietary vitamin D (r= 0.2; p=0.03), intake of cold cereal (p=0.02) also significantly predicted serum 25(OH)D levels. Among non-dietary factors, month of blood draw (p=0.05) and oral contraceptive use (p<0.0001) were positive predictors of serum 25(OH) D; sunscreen use (p=0.04) was a negative predictor. After adjusting for covariates, oral contraceptive use was associated with 25(OH)D levels that were on average 24 nmol/L greater than those observed in women who did not use oral contraceptives. Additional prospective studies are needed to further evaluate the relationship between vitamin D status and asthma.


First Advisor

Alayne G Ronnenberg