The Role of Vitamin D in Lung Diseases

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Respiratory infections and pulmonary diseases affect the throat, airways, lungs, and sinuses. The respiratory tract, the part of your body involved with your breathing, can be infected with the common cold, bronchitis, tuberculosis, and influenza among others.

There are also lung diseases that may affect your respiratory tract and one of the most common is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.

While there are a few forms of COPD, the symptoms often involve shortness of breath even with mild activity, coughing with mucus, fatigue, wheezing, and other respiratory infections. When the symptoms become worse, this is known as acute attacks or flare-ups.

Although COPD can happen to anyone, it does have a number of risk factors that increase your chances of having the disease, including:

• People who smoke a lot
• Individuals who work at places with fumes and gases
• People who are constantly exposed to secondhand smoke
• People who live in air polluted areas
• Individuals who cook over flames in a kitchen that does not have proper ventilation

Vitamin D and COPD

There have been evidences that showed how frequent respiratory infections becomes when there is not much sunlight. Having enough vitamin D in the body can reduce the risk of flare-ups. Farmers are the ones who generally do not suffer from flare-ups, mainly because they are exposed to enough sunlight. However, they are actually the group of people who have COPD because they are exposed to chemicals and organic matter.

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Nevertheless, studies showed just how strong the relationship is between vitamin D and lung disease flare-ups. Vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of getting COPD, which is why people who have this disease are constantly exposed to sunlight to benefit from it and raise their vitamin D levels.

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Vitamin D has the ability to protect the patients against COPD flare-ups through protecting the body against bacterial and viral infections that trigger the attacks. Additionally, vitamin D has the power to reduce compounds that are present in your body, which can destroy your tissues, including matrix metalloprotease-9 (MMP-9), a contributor to the onset of COPD.

Researchers did find that adding vitamin D supplements to your routine can reduce the duration and severity of flare-ups. Although there is no complete evidence leading to the conclusion that vitamin D reduces COPD risk, it is still a possibility. This is why experts have not ruled out this theory just yet.

Another reason why you should up your vitamin D intake is that it reduces the risk of osteoporosis, a common problem in patients who have COPD.

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