US COPD Coalition

Vitamin D Supplements May Help Reduce Risk of COPD Exacerbations


A study published this month in the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) showed that taking vitamin D supplements can reduce the risk of developing lower respiratory tract infections. The greatest benefits were seen in individuals who are very deficient in vitamin D and in those taking daily or weekly supplements.

While the BMJ article notes that there is some benefit to vitamin D supplementation, the benefits are limited according to David Mannino, MD, Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health at the University of Kentucky’s College of Publich Health and Chief Scientific Officer of the COPD Foundation. “We get a lot of questions on this. There is not a huge downside to Vitamin D, but probably not a huge benefit. At best this study showed a 10% reduction in exacerbations, which is about 1 every 10 years for the average patient”. Before consider taking vitamin D supplements, Dr. Mannino reminds patients, “As usual, check with your doctor to be sure there are no reasons not to be supplementing”.

See the original research in the BMJ here: Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections

Reference:Martineau AR, Jolliffe DA, Hooper RL, et al. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. BMJ. 15 February 2017. doi: 10.1136/bmj.i6583