If your child is loaded up on asthma meds, it's time to look to the sky for some answers.

New research confirms that a lack of vitamin D – called the sunshine vitamin, because our bodies can make it from natural daylight striking our skin – may be one of the culprits.

In the latest study, researchers found a direct connection between vitamin D deficiencies in children and more severe asthma and allergies.

The researchers looked at 616 asthmatic children in Costa Rica, where you might be tempted to think they get all they need from the sun.

But clearly, they don't.

More than a quarter of these kids weren't getting enough of the stuff, and they were suffering as a result.

The researchers found that 24.6 percent of the kids had "insufficient" levels, while 3.4 percent of them were "deficient" in vitamin D. These children had more severe allergies and higher odds of being hospitalized for asthma symptoms.

The results were published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

I've been helping both kids and adults win their battles with asthma for years, and in almost all cases, it's caused by either an allergy or a nutritional deficiency in something as essential as vitamin D.

I've found vitamin D can even help folks who have the harder-to-control steroid-resistant asthma, and other studies have confirmed that link.

It's a nutrient that's easy to ignore – if our bodies can make it from the sun, we probably get what we need, right?

Wrong. After all, if the children in a sun-rich nation like Costa Rica aren't getting enough vitamin D naturally, chances are you're not either.

Many of my neighbors here in Montana spend all day working in the sun. But I often advise them to take a supplement, even in summer, because everything from cloud cover to clothing to sunblock can impair your body's ability to make enough vitamin D from sunlight alone.

It's an inexpensive and widely available supplement, and it protects you from so much more than asthma. It can help you prevent or fight neurological diseases, breast and bowel cancers, eczema, colds and even the flu.

There's even evidence that vitamin D can help you live longer, too – all from a natural supplement that beats out any pricey Big Pharma "wonder" drug.