The Queen Mary University of London has published a new study, in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, specifying that vitamin D supplements, have the impact of reducing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease flare-ups by over 40%.
Flare-ups were defined as when a COPD patient’s usual symptoms, (coughing, excess mucus, shortness of breath, tightness in chest), increase in severity often resulting in hospitalization.
COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) includes conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and is thought to affect more than 3 million people in the UK.
The study included 240 research participants with COPD. Half of the patients (122) received vitamin D supplements (6 x 2-monthly oral doses of 3mg) and the other half (118) received an equivalent placebo. The risk, severity and duration of flare-ups was then compared between the two groups.
People with a vitamin D deficiency benefited dramatically from taking the supplements with a marked reduction in flare-ups. All patients improved even those with a higher base line vitamin D level in the body although the flare up reduction in those patients was not as dramatic.
“Flare-ups of chronic bronchitis and emphysema (COPD) can be debilitating for patients, sometimes leading to hospitalisation and even death. Our research has shown how an inexpensive vitamin supplement can significantly reduce the risk of flare-ups for patients who are vitamin D deficient, which could have a major public health benefit. Our findings suggest that patients with COPD should have their vitamin D status tested and should begin taking supplements if their levels are found to be low,” said Professor Adrian Martineau, Lead Author, Queen Mary University of London.
Adrian R Martineau, Wai Yee James, Richard L Hooper, Neil C Barnes, David A Jolliffe, Claire L Greiller, Kamrul Islam, David McLaughlin, Angshu Bhowmik, Peter M Timms, Raj K Rajakulasingam, Marion Rowe, Timothy R Venton, Aklak B Choudhury, David E Simcock, Mark Wilks, Amarjeet Degun, Zia Sadique, William R Monteiro, Christopher J Corrigan, Catherine M Hawrylowicz, Christopher J Griffiths. Vitamin D3 supplementation in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (ViDiCO): a multicentre, double-blind, randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/S2213-2600(14)70255-3