Hospital de Niños physician links asthma and vitamin lack

A study by the staff of the Hospital Nacional de Niños has linked asthma with deficiencies of vitamin D.

Manuel Soto Quirós, a physician at the hospital, studied 616 youngsters who had asthma and reported that 28 percent had insufficient levels of vitamin D.

Humans obtain Vitamin D from sunlight, but Soto noted that many children are not allowed to play in the open air. He emphasized the need for children to be exposed to the sun as long as protective measures are taken.

In addition to sunlight, children can obtain the vitamin from eating the appropriate food products, he noted. He also pointed out that 31 percent of the children with asthma live in a home with a smoker.

Costa Rica has one of the highest percentages of children with asthma. The hospital noted that some 32 percent of the population between 6 and 7 years could be considered asthmatic.

Some of the food products rich in vitamin D, according to the hospital, are cheese, butter, cream, enriched milk, oily fish like tuna and salmon, oysters, certain cereals, and soy milk.

The hospital also noted that low levels of Vitamin D can cause calcium deposits in vital organs that could cause renal failure in youngsters.

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