One of the things I really like about my practice and the Lung Disease Center is that it gives us space to commune. My three partners and I usually have lunch together and it gives us the time to talk over interesting cases or ideas that we share to help our patients, and sometimes we joke and laugh.
Several years ago I brought up the topic of Vitamin D and its beneficial effect in patients with asthma or COPD. I was not exactly shouted down, but no one really took my side on this issue. Since then I have looked for any studies or journal articles that would support my point of view.
Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties and also helps to control genes associated with lung disease. It has been thought to help prevent lung flare-ups, some of which could be related to infection. A recent study evaluated the effects of Vitamin D exacerbation rates in patients with COPD.
This study was conducted in the United Kingdom and involved 240 patients. This number is not that large, but it is large enough for a preliminary analysis. What was found? Patients who had low levels of vitamin D and took supplements to normalize their levels had less moderate to severe exacerbations over a one year observation period. Does this mean you must take vitamin D? No. The only thing this study means for sure is that I still have the bragging rights with the young docs at lunch.