COPD Patients: Could Vitamin D Be A Lifesaver?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is an overarching term for a number of progressive lung diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and non-reversible asthma. Unfortunately, COPD is currently incurable, leaving sufferers prone to breathing difficulties and susceptible to a sudden and often fatal decline in condition.

Thankfully, new studies published in the medical journal ‘Thorax’ have given COPD sufferers a beacon of hope, with the study indicating that vitamin D could reduce and manage the characteristic symptoms of COPD.

According to the co-author of the study and Clinical Professor of Infection and Immunity at the Blizard Institute at the University of London, Adrian Martineau: “Vitamin D has two important effects on the immune system that could explain why it reduces symptoms of COPD.”

“It boosts immune responses to respiratory viruses that commonly trigger COPD attacks,” says Martineau. “It also dampens down harmful inflammatory responses, thereby accelerating recovery and potentially limiting damage to the architecture of the lung.”

The landmark study took place across the United Kingdom, Belgium, and the Netherlands, with 469 patients participating in the trial. Thankfully, the study has already generated some promising results, with preliminary tests indicating a 45 percent reduction in lung attacks following the introduction of daily vitamin D supplementation into the patient’s routine. However, this reduction was only seen in patients with a vitamin D deficiency, not in patients whose vitamin D levels were normal.

Most deaths associated with COPD are due to a sudden decline in a patient’s condition – usually triggered by viral upper respiratory infections. With COPD conditions on the rise, medical practitioners are desperate for effective treatment and symptom management strategies.

“New treatments are urgently needed to prevent COPD attacks. Our study shows that giving supplements to vitamin D-deficient COPD patients nearly halves their rate of potentially fatal attacks," Martineau stated.

David G. Hill, a pulmonologist with Waterbury Pulmonary Associates in Connecticut and a medical spokesperson at the American Lung Association, has also linked increased vitamin D intake with an improvement in the condition of COPD patients who also suffer from osteoporosis.

Source: Pexels
Photo: WebMD, Healthline

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