The current study examined both vitamin-D blood levels and dietary intake. A total of 98 patients from both Gothenburg and Uppsala and 149 healthy elderly controls from Gothenburg participated in the study.

“We found that the COPD patients had a consistently poorer vitamin D status than had healthy subjects. But even among the healthy controls, who were between 65 and 80 years, nearly 40 percent had low levels of the vitamin in the blood,” says Frode Slinde, Associate Professor at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.

The cause of vitamin-D deficiency may be both an inadequate dietary intake and too little exposure to sunlight. The Gothenburg study shows that dietary intake of vitamin D was insufficient in both groups, but, remarkably, COPD patients had a higher total intake of vitamin D than the healthy control group.

“This was because many COPD patients have osteoporosis, and to a greater extent use drugs for osteoporosis that contain vitamin D,” says Frode Slinde.

“That many COPD patients nonetheless have insufficient levels of vitamin D in the blood should result in the health care taking this seriously and routinely measuring the vitamin status of COPD patients, and initiate treatment for those patients presenting inadequate levels,” says Frode Slinde.

The article, Vitamin D status and dietary intake in a Swedish COPD population, was electronically published in the journal Clinical Respiratory Journal on May 27 ahead of print.

COPD or, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is a disorder of the lungs and airways. Those affected have persistent airways problems and suffer from shortness of breath. The number of people who have COPD in Sweden is estimated to be between 400,000 to 700,000 depending on which diagnostic criteria the physician applied. The primary cause of COPD is damage to mucous membranes as a result of active or passive tobacco smoking. Disease treatment includes smoking cessation and medication.

For more information contact:
Frode Slinde, registered dietitian and Associate Professor at the Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.
+46 31 786 37 24
+46 70 264 67 31