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Vitamin D supplementation may reduce COPD flare-ups in people with severely low levels

Posted on: January 16, 2012   by  Vitamin D Council


Recent research has sparked dramatic headlines in the newsstating that vitamin D provides no hope for lung diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.

People with COPD experience shortness of breath and trouble breathing (exacerbations), worsening as the disease progresses.

The randomized controlled trial published in Annals of Internal Medicine included 182 people with COPD. Researchers administered either 100,000 IU of vitamin D or a placebo once a month for a year. The study’s aim was to determine if the vitamin D reduced exacerbations among participants receiving vitamin D.

There were 468 exacerbations throughout the duration of the study with no difference between the vitamin D and placebo groups. There was also no difference in time to the first exacerbation. However, the researchers did notice there was a small subset of 30 people who did experience a change.

Among people who had severely low levels of vitamin D, exacerbations decreased with participants in the vitamin D group.

The authors call for further research examining the link between severe vitamin D deficiency and COPD. They acknowledge that the sample size of people with severe deficiency was fairly small, and future research should include a representative sample size.


Lehouck A, et al. High doses of vitamin D to reduce exacerbations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A randomized trial. Annals of Internal Medicine.
Jan 2012.

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