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Low Vitamin D Levels Are Linked to Worse Symptoms of COPD

Low Vitamin D Levels Are Linked to Worse Symptoms of COPD
Adult male with an Oxygen hose to provide supplemental O2 due to a breathing disability such as emphysema or COPD.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. There is no cure and treatment can be challenging. This condition is often associated with years or decades of cigarette smoking.

A new study suggests that low vitamin D levels are associated with worse symptoms of COPD. Of the nearly 500 participants in the study, 69% had insufficient or deficient levels of vitamin D circulating in their bodies. This is defined as 30 ng/ml or less of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Those with the lowest levels of vitamin D had the worst emphysema symptoms.

As the scientists point out, this study established association, not causation. No one knows if vitamin D supplementation would alter the course of the disease.

[Respiratory Medicine, Oct. 2013]

If you are interested in sources of vitamin D and what constitutes a healthy blood level of this vitamin, you may wish to read our 8-page Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency.


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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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