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logoIt’s always a challenge to take a single, isolated nutrient and try to prove a health benefit within a research study. Unlike drugs, which mostly have a clear mode of action on their own, nutrients generally usually work synergistically with other nutrients and lifestyle factors to generate health benefits. So when a meta-analysis (review of multiple studies) of one vitamin all show a similar clinical outcome, it is a significant finding and offers some clarity on the use of a nutrient in isolation as well as in combination with others.

indexVitamin D supplements can reduce COPD lung disease flare-ups by over 40% in patients with a vitamin D deficiency – according to new research from Queen Mary University of London. COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) includes conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and is thought to affect more than 3 million people in the UK.

The NIHR-funded randomised trial, published in the journal Lancet Respiratory Medicine, included 240 patients with COPD in and around London. Half of the patients (122) received vitamin D supplements (6 x 2-monthly oral doses of 3mg) and the other half (118) received an equivalent placebo. The risk, severity and duration of flare-ups was then compared between the two groups.[1]

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Having severe vitamin D deficiency may put people aged 65 years and older at more than twice the risk of having self-reported respiratory disease, according to an article published online May 6 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.[1] The author Dr Hirani had in 2010 identified a similar pattern in older member of the UK population, and described it as a public health problem.[2]

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