Vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of potentially fatal pulmonary attacks in some patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), suggests a new study.
COPD is a group of lung diseases that include emphysema and chronic bronchitis that causes blockage of air flow, making breathing difficult.
The study showed that oral use of vitamin D supplements led to a 45% reduction in pulmonary attacks among patients with COPD who were vitamin D deficient.
"Vitamin D supplementation is safe and costs only a few pennies to complement a person for a year, so this is a potentially profitable treatment that could be directed to those who have low levels of vitamin D after routine tests." , said the leader, researcher Adrian Martineau, professor at the Queen Mary University in London.
For the study, published in Thorax magazine, the team included 469 patients in three clinical trials in the United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The analysis found that supplementation did not influence the proportion of participants experiencing severe adverse events, which indicates that it was safe.
However, no benefit was observed in patients with higher vitamin D levels.
COPD affects more than 170 million people around the world and caused an estimated 3.2 million deaths by 2015.
"New treatments are needed urgently to prevent attacks against COPD. Our study shows that giving supplements to patients with vitamin D deficient COPD almost halves their rate of potentially fatal attacks," said Martineau .
While vitamin D is best known for its effects on bone health, previous studies have also revealed its role in protecting against colds, attacks on flu and asthma, and even helping with the disease, Weight gain and the development of the brain in malnourished children.