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Vitamin D May Benefit Lungs of Smokers

Acceptable levels of vitamin D, (levels of more than 20 µg/mL), may offer a protective outcome on lung function and the lower speed of lung function failure in smokers, according to investigations conducted at the Channing Laboratory at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.

Researchers concurrently assessed vitamin D levels and lung function at three various time points between 1984 and 2003.

In vitamin D deficient people, for each increase in pack ciagarette-years of smoking, the FEV1 (Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second) was 12 mL less, compared with a decline of 6.5 mL among people who were not deficient in vitamin D. Over time, deficient levels of vitamin D exacerbated the effect of pack years of smoking on the drop in FEV1.

“Our results suggest that vitamin D might modify the damaging effects of smoking on lung function,” said lead author Nancy E. Lange, MD, MPH, of the laboratory. “These effects might be due to vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.”

Assuming the results can be replicated in other studies, additional investigation should focus on whether vitamin D offers protection against lung decline from other causes, such as air pollution.