New studies suggest that some patients with COPD could receive life-threatening lung attacks with a daily dose of vitamin D.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, includes a number of lung conditions, including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Almost all COPD deaths are due to a sudden worsening of symptoms (lung attacks), often caused by viral infections of the upper respiratory tract, the researchers explained.

"New treatments are urgently needed to prevent COPD attacks." Our study shows that administering supplements to COPD patients deficient in vitamin D nearly halves the number of life-threatening attacks. ", said lead researcher Adrian Martineau, a professor at Queen Mary University in London.

In this study, Martineau and colleagues analyzed data from 469 COPD patients from three clinical trials conducted in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Vitamin D supplementation has been associated with a 45% reduction in pulmonary attacks in patients with vitamin D deficiency, but no reduction has been observed in patients with higher vitamin D levels. , have discovered the researchers.

Vitamin D supplementation is safe and inexpensive, Martineau said.

"This is a potentially very cost-effective treatment that could be targeted at people with low levels of vitamin D after routine testing," he said in a press release issued by l & # 39; university.

"About a fifth of COPD patients in the UK – about 240,000 people – have low levels of vitamin D," said Martineau.

COPD affects more than 170 million people worldwide and this disease caused an estimated 3.2 million deaths in 2015.

The researchers pointed out that since the data in their study came from only three trials, the results should be interpreted with some caution.

Previous research conducted by Queen Mary University has shown that vitamin D helps protect against colds, flu and asthma.

The study was published Jan. 10 in the journal Thorax.