Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – Treatment

As mentioned, those with COPD with higher serum 25(OH)D levels have greater lung capacity1. Thus, vitamin D may reduce the severity of COPD.

Vitamin D reduces the risk of viral respiratory infection, and such infections lead to exacerbation of COPD; thus, those with COPD would have fewer respiratory infections for higher serum 25(OH)D levels.

A randomized controlled trial in Japan found two-thirds reduction in influenza cases for school children taking 1200 IU/day of vitamin D3 compared to those taking 200 IU/day2.

Those with COPD have an increased risk of osteoporosis3 4. Since vitamin D can reduce the risk, this is one sound reason for those with COPD to supplement with vitamin D and calcium. Doses of 800 IU of vitamin D in combination with calcium have been proven efficacious against osteoporosis but to target serum levels of 25-OHD above 40 ng/ml, higher supplementation doses are needed. 

However, randomized controlled trials should be conducted to assess the vitamin D requirements and benefits5.

Page last edited: 26 April 2011


  1. Black, P. N. Scragg, R. Relationship between serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d and pulmonary function in the third national health and nutrition examination survey. Chest. 2005 Dec; 128 (6): 3792-8.
  2. Urashima, M. Segawa, T. Okazaki, M. Kurihara, M. Wada, Y. Ida, H. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May; 91 (5): 1255-60.
  3. Franco, C. B. Paz-Filho, G. Gomes, P. E. Nascimento, V. B. Kulak, C. A. Boguszewski, C. L. Borba, V. Z. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is associated with osteoporosis and low levels of vitamin D. Osteoporos Int. 2009 Mar 20;
  4. Jorgensen, N. R. Schwarz, P. Holme, I. Henriksen, B. M. Petersen, L. J. Backer, V. The prevalence of osteoporosis in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a cross sectional study. Respir Med. 2007 Jan; 101 (1): 177-85.
  5. Hughes, D. A. Norton, R. Vitamin D and respiratory health. Clin Exp Immunol. 2009 Oct; 158 (1): 20-5.