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

    This blog ran from 2006 to 2016 and was 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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