Vitamin D benefits breathing in tuberculosis patients

Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D can help people breathe better and may even protect against tuberculosis (TB), according to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM).

The study of more than 10,000 Korean adults found that lung function improved when people had absorbed more vitamin D into their bodies. Vitamin D is absorbed primarily through sunlight, with a healthy diet as a secondary source.

Without enough vitamin D to aid calcium absorption, children and adults can develop bone and muscle conditions. The study improved scientists' understanding of how vitamin D may improve lung function as well as bone health.

"The research identified a clear connection between lung function and vitamin D levels in the blood," said the study's lead author, Chan-Jin Choi, MD, PhD, of the Catholic University of Korea's College of Medicine. "The link remained in place, regardless of age, gender, weight or lifestyle."

The study found people who had a history of TB had significantly lower levels of the vitamin D biomarker, called 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), in their blood. Lung function improved in this population when 25(OH)D levels rose.

Researchers theorize vitamin D could enhance patients' innate immunity, help them recover from infection and regulate lung tissue degradation.

"This study suggests TB patients may benefit from receiving vitamin D therapy to improve their lung function," Choi said. "Vitamin D also has potential as a preventative measure for TB. More research is needed to explore the impact vitamin D has on the condition."

People who already are taking the recommended dose of vitamin D supplements may not need to change their routine to reap the benefits the vitamin has on lung function. The study found negligible benefit for people whose vitamin D biomarker levels exceeded the range 16.5-24.9 ng/ml, which is well below the levels The Endocrine Society recommends for bone health in its guidelines.

The study was the first to examine and in an East Asian population. Researchers collected the cross-sectional survey data as part of the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 2008-2010.

More information: The article, "Relationship between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D and Lung Function among Korean Adults in Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES), 2008- 2010," appears in the April 2013 issue of JCEM.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

UN says Syria vaccine deaths was an NGO 'mistake'

3 hours ago

The recent deaths of Syrian children after receiving measles vaccinations was the result of a "mistake" by a non-governmental partner who mixed in a muscle relaxant meant for anesthesia, a spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general ...

First US child dies from enterovirus D68

3 hours ago

A child in the northeastern US state of Rhode Island has become the first to die from an ongoing outbreak of a respiratory virus, enterovirus D68, health officials said Wednesday.

US Ebola patient had contact with kids: governor

3 hours ago

A man who was diagnosed with Ebola in virus in Texas came in contact with young children, and experts are monitoring them for any signs of disease, governor Rick Perry said Wednesday.

UN worker dies of suspected Ebola in Liberia

4 hours ago

The United Nations mission in Liberia announced on Wednesday the first suspected victim among its employees of the deadly Ebola epidemic ravaging the impoverished west African nation.

User comments