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Lung India. 2019 Nov-Dec;36(6):492-498. doi: 10.4103/lungindia.lungindia_141_19.

Should vitamin D be routinely checked for all chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients?

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Department of TB and Respiratory Diseases, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.


Aims and Objectives:

This study aimed to compare the vitamin D levels between chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and healthy controls and to describe the correlation between vitamin D levels and lung functions.


Fifty COPD patients (cases) and 30 healthy volunteers (controls) were recruited and their serum vitamin D level was measured together with lung function (forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume in 1 s [FEV1]) by spirometry. vitamin D was categorized as ≤20 nmol/l: deficient, 21-50 nmol/l: inadequate, and ≥51 nmol/l as sufficient.


In this case-control cross-sectional study, lower vitamin D levels were associated with lower lung function in both cases as well as controls, the effect being more pronounced in cases. Mean FEV1 at vitamin D ≤20 nmol/l (0.98 ± 0.40 vs. controls 1.93 ± 0.24 with P = 0.006), mean FEV1 at vitamin D 21-50 nmol/l (1.55 ± 0.54 vs. 2.20 ± 0.31 with P = 0.000), and mean FEV1 at vitamin D ≥51 nmol/l (2.06 ± 0.54 vs. 2.20 ± 0.31 with P = 0.002). Moreover, the severity of predicted postbronchodilator FEV1% was also much lower among COPD cohort versus healthy volunteers (mean FEV1%: cases 47.88 ± 14.22 vs. controls 58.76 ± 15.05 with P = 0.002).


Importantly, lung function in both the groups was affected by decreased vitamin D level; decrease in FEV1 was more pronounced among COPD patients compared to controls showing more expiratory airflow limitation. Vitamin D levels are associated with changes in lung function in cases of COPD as well as healthy controls. Larger studies to confirm the association in Indian context are required and routine assessment of vitamin D may be undertaken to obviate the effects of low vitmain D level on lung function.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; lung function; vitamin D

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