It is well known that vitamin D plays an important role in bone health and the immune system, however, evidence is emerging, which shows that vitamin D levels are associated with better lung function, suggesting it plays an important role in maintaining good respiratory health. It is believed that vitamin D has an impact on lung structure, respiratory muscle strength and immune response to respiratory pathogens.
Two recent studies have, suggested that in people living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and bronchiectasis, vitamin D may play a significant role in reducing exacerbations and disease severity respectively.
A recent systematic review published in the Thorax, provides the strongest evidence yet for the benefit of giving vitamin D supplements to patients with COPD. It found that vitamin D supplementation safely and substantially reduced the rate of moderate and severe COPD exacerbations in patients with baseline vitamin D levels of less than 25 nmol/L but not in those with higher levels. Read more.
Another study, published in Respiratory Medicine by Ferri et al, Vitamin D and disease severity in bronchiectasis, looked at the role Vitamin D plays in infective disease via a mechanism called inflammation modulation. Ferri and colleagues were able to conclude that patients affected by bronchiectasis are frequently Vitamin D deficient, which correlated with lung function decline. It found that Vitamin D is deficient in 64% of participants, sufficient in 36% and normal in 7%. The authors have identified Vitamin D as being a good predictor of clinical and radiological severity of bronchiectasis. An earlier study by Chalmers et al also indicated that participants who had deficiency suffered more frequent exacerbations, had worse symptoms and poorer health-related quality of life. Read more.