Low vitamin D levels are associated with respiratory disorders, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Some common respiratory disorders previously associated with low vitamin D include asthma, upper and lower respiratory tract infections, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and more.
Vasant Hirani, PhD, from the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London Medical School, reports an inverse association between vitamin D status and incidence of respiratory diseases.
Dr Hirani collected data on 2,070 adults aged 65 and older who participated in the 2005 Health Survey for England. Vitamin D levels were assessed, along with self-reported long-term respiratory tract disorders, demographics, and relevant lifestyle factors.
Participants who were severely deficient (< 14 ng/ml) were twice as likely to suffer from a respiratory disease as those in the higher quartile (> 25 ng/ml). Participants with moderate deficiency (14 – 20 ng/ml) had 1.75 increased odds of having a respiratory disease.
Dr Hirani explains, “Ensuring adequate 25(OH)D levels is of public health importance for older populations living in northern latitudes and may be an effective way to prevent concurrent respiratory infections and related complications in older people. Further studies are required to investigate whether vitamin D supplementation may reduce the incidence and exacerbations of respiratory disease.”
There is already some research in the area, including a study which found vitamin D supplementation reduced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbations in the severely deficient.