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Stephanie Watkins

PhD student, Stephanie Watkins, is investigating the effect of vitamin D supplements on lung function. Current UK data show that one in 12 adults are receiving treatment for asthma, with the UK having some of the highest rates in Europe. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with the development of immune-related disorders including asthma. Reduced vitamin D levels impair lung function, increase airway hyper-responsiveness and reduce response to certain asthma medications, suggesting vitamin D levels may also influence asthma treatment.

This research is being carried out by the Department of Clinical Sciences and Nutrition at the University of Chester and is being led by Associate Professor Sohail Mushtaq and Stephanie.

Stephanie said: “The aim of the study is to determine the effect of daily vitamin D supplementation for 12 weeks in adults with asthma. The measured outcomes will include lung function, asthma control, levels of inflammation and vitamin D levels at baseline, six weeks and 12 weeks. I’m expecting to find that daily vitamin D will improve lung function, asthma control and vitamin D levels, while also facilitating an anti-inflammatory response.”

Associate Professor Mushtaq said: “The North West of England has some of the highest rates of asthma incidence in the UK, which peak in the winter months. This also coincides with the time of year when our vitamin D levels are at their lowest. Therefore, by supplementing people with vitamin D, and subsequently improving their vitamin D status, we will be able to investigate whether vitamin D has a potential to alleviate asthma symptoms.”

Participants in the study would be required to attend three appointments at the University’s Parkgate Road Campus, lasting 30 minutes per appointment. At these, they would be required to undergo a lung function test, complete a questionnaire and provide a venous blood sample. Participants would then be required to take one tablet per day for 12 weeks containing either 5000 IU vitamin D or a placebo.

To apply, please contact Steph Watkins by email on

The deadline for applications is December 20, 2019. On completion of the study, participants will receive a £10 Love2shop voucher.


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