Tuberculosis Patients: Vitamin D Benefits Breathing


Photo: Vitamin D

People who had a history of tuberculosis had significantly lower levels of the vitamin D biomarker;
© Meng

Maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D can help people breathe better and may even protect against tuberculosis (TB), according to a study.

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, Doctor Chan-Jin Choi 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.; Source: The Endocrine Society