Lung Function and
Vitamin D link identified in New Zealand Study
There may be a link between vitamin D and lung health according to a new
study out of New Zealand. Researchers led by Peter Black at the
University of Auckland looked at 14,091 persons over the age of 20 from
the U.S. Third national health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES
III) carried out between 1988 and 1994. The participants had spirometry
performed and had serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D measured.
The participants were divided into five groups based on vitamin D
levels. Typically the higher the vitamin D levels the better the
subjects performed on two lung function tests.
The first test was the FEV1 (forced expiratory volume). This measured
the total amount of air blown out in the first second of maximum
exhalation. The second test was the FVC (forced vital capacity) test.
This test measured the amount of air blown out during a maximum
For those over the age of 60 the association between vitamin D and FEV1
was more profound. The link was also greatest for current and former
smokers. The tissues of the lungs undergo a process of “renewal and
remodeling” throughout life. It is possible that vitamin D may
According to the myDNA website the researchers made adjustments for
physical activity, intake of vitamin D supplements and milk and
antioxidant levels. “In addition, an association between vitamin D and
FEV1 was seen in non-Hispanic whites and blacks and was greater for
those over 60 and current or former smokers. who were interviewed at
mobile examination centers.”
Forbes reports that Black said "As far as we are aware, this is the
first time that anyone has identified this association between lung
function and vitamin D."
There is no recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D. Most
healthy adults under the age of 50 should take at least 200 IUs
(International Units). For those between the ages of 51 and 70 the
dosage is 400 IU and for adults over the age of 70 the dosage is 600 IU.
The body can manufacture vitamin D with exposure to ultraviolet
radiation (UV). The sun can provide this. Some foods have vitamin D.
Milk is fortified with vitamin D. Salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines
also have vitamin D.
There has already been a link between vitamin D and osteoporosis. Other
studies suggest a link between low vitamin D levels and diabetes and
coronary heart disease. The most common reason for low vitamin D levels
is lack of exposure to the sun. The sun can damage the skin.
The study appears in the December issue of Chest. Chest is a
peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP).
To learn more about vitamin D, see
U.S. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements.
By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer
Keywords and misspellings: cardio pulmonary cardeo
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