The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Treating COPD with vitamin D

    Low vitamin D levels are associated with reduced lung function (FEV1), impaired immunologic control, and increased airway inflammation.

    Many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have vitamin D deficiency. So, researchers at the University Hospitals Leuven, in Belgium, studied whether supplementation with high doses of vitamin D could reduce the incidence of COPD exacerbations.

    First, the details.

    • 182 patients with moderate to very severe COPD and a history of recent exacerbations were assigned to a treatment group for a year.
      • 100,000 IU of vitamin D supplementation every 4 weeks
      • Placebo
    • The main outcome measured was time to first exacerbation.
    • In addition, exacerbation rate, time to first hospitalization, time to second exacerbation, FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 second), quality of life, and death were recorded.
    • Neither the patients nor researchers knew the treatment given — double blind.

    And, the results.

    • Average 25-(OH)D levels increased significantly in the vitamin D group vs the placebo group.
    • The time to first exacerbation did not significantly differ between the groups, nor did exacerbation rates, FEV1, hospitalization, quality of life, and death.
    • However, in 30 participants with severe vitamin D deficiency (less than 10 ng/mL) before treatment there was a significant reduction in exacerbations in the vitamin D group.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “High-dose vitamin D supplementation in a sample of patients with COPD did not reduce the incidence of exacerbations. In participants with severe vitamin D deficiency at baseline, supplementation may reduce exacerbations.”

    Confirmation in patients with severe vitamin D deficiency is needed.

    1/18/12 22:36 JR

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