Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

COPD Health Center

Font Size

Vitamin D May Improve Breathing for COPD Patients

Study Shows Improvement in Lung Function for COPD Patients Who Get Vitamin D Supplements

Testing Supplements in COPD

For the study, researchers enrolled 50 COPD patients whose symptoms, including shortness of breath and coughing and phlegm, had been getting worse.

All the patients participated in a three-month pulmonary rehabilitation program. Half were randomly selected to receive once-monthly, high-dose vitamin D supplements; the other half were given a placebo pill.

At the beginning of the study, and again at the end, researchers tested muscle strength in the lungs and the legs, vitamin D levels, and exercise capacity, which is a measure of how long and how intensely a person can exercise. Researchers also asked about improvements in quality of life before and after the study.

By the end of the study, study participants taking vitamin D had significantly greater improvements in exercise capacity and respiratory muscle strength than those taking the placebo.

Despite the fact that they could move and breathe better, however, study participants taking vitamin D didn’t report any improvements in quality of life. Researchers think that may be because the study was relatively short.

Will Doctors Put COPD Patients on Vitamin D?

While it is still early, Brown says that based on the evidence he’s seen, he’s tempted to start testing his patients for vitamin D.

“I’m not fully convinced of this issue yet,” he tells WebMD. “But I think the totality of this information is really pushing us toward testing many patients, and if found to be deficient, trying to think about ways to replace them.”

Whether a person needs extra vitamin D will probably depend on the climate they live in, how much they’re outdoors, and how much of the vitamin they get from their diet.

The U.S. recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 600 IU daily for adults up to age 70 and 800 IU daily for adults over 70.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

man talking to his doctor
Check your COPD risk.
woman using inhaler
What is the top cause of this condition?
chest x-ray
7 early warning signs.
Senior couple stretching
10 exercises for people With COPD.
Bronchitis Overview
Senior woman blowing dandelion
Living With Copd
human lung graphic
Energy Boosting Foods
red heart and ekg
Living With Copd
Senior couple stretching