A new study suggests that among people who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), taking a high-dose supplement of vitamin D may increase their exercise capacity and strength of respiratory muscles.
The findings, which were presented at the recent American Thoracic Society conference in Denver, show that a monthly dose of 100,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D given to COPD patients showed significant improvements in exercise capacity and respiratory muscle strength compared to a placebo group.
COPD is an affliction suffered mostly by smokers. It is described as chronic inflammation in the small airways of the lung and leads to too much mucous production, excessive fibrous connective tissue development, otherwise known as fibrosis, and degradation of proteins (proteolysis).
The United States government currently recommends 600 IU of vitamin D per day for adults up to age 70 and 800 IU daily for people over 70 years old, which are woefully inadequate doses.
“Low levels of vitamin D in the blood have been related with muscle weakness, a major target for respiratory rehabiltation and increased risk of falls”, said Miek Hornikx from the Katholieke University Leuven In Belgium.
“These results support the idea that correcting vitamin D deficiency by adding vatamin D supplements to training programs allows COPD patients to achieve better result from rehabilitation, including improvements in muscle strength and exercise capacity”, she added.