28 August 2017
Although vitamin D is well known for its function in calcium homeostasis and bone mineralization, several studies have shown positive effects on muscle strength and physical function. In addition, vitamin D has been associated with pulmonary function and the incidence of airway infections. As vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients, supplementation might have a beneficial effect in these patients.
To assess the effect of vitamin D supplementation on respiratory muscle strength and physical performance in vitamin D-deficient COPD patients. Secondary outcomes are pulmonary function, handgrip strength, exacerbation rate, and quality of life.
We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot trial. Participants were randomly allocated to receive 1,200 IU vitamin D3 per day (n=24) or placebo (n=26) during 6 months. Study visits were conducted at baseline, and at 3 and 6 months after randomization. During the visits, blood was collected, respiratory muscle strength was measured (maximum inspiratory and expiratory pressure), physical performance and 6-minute walking tests were performed, and handgrip strength and pulmonary function were assessed. In addition, participants kept a diary card in which they registered respiratory symptoms.
At baseline, the mean (standard deviation [SD]) serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentration (nmol/L) was 42.3 (15.2) in the vitamin D group and 40.6 (17.0) in the placebo group. Participants with vitamin D supplementation had a larger increase in serum 25(OH)D compared to the placebo group after 6 months (mean difference (SD): +52.8 (29.8) vs +12.3 (25.1), P<0.001). Primary outcomes, respiratory muscle strength and physical performance, did not differ between the groups after 6 months. In addition, no differences were found in the 6-minute walking test results, handgrip strength, pulmonary function, exacerbation rate, or quality of life.