Vitamin D supplementation during rehabilitation in COPD: a secondary analysis of a randomized trial

Respir Res. 2012 Sep 25;13(1):84. doi: 10.1186/1465-9921-13-84.


Rationale: Pulmonary rehabilitation is an important treatment for patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, who are often vitamin D deficient. As vitamin D status is linked to skeletal muscle function, we aimed to explore if high dose vitamin D supplementation can improve the outcomes of rehabilitation in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Material and methods: This study is a post-hoc subgroup analysis of a larger randomized trial comparing a monthly dose of 100.000 IU of vitamin D with placebo to reduce exacerbations. 50 Subjects who followed a rehabilitation program during the trial are included in this analysis. We report changes from baseline in muscle strength and exercise performance between both study arms after 3 months of rehabilitation.

Results: Vitamin D intervention resulted in significantly higher median vitamin D levels compared to placebo (51 [44-62] ng/ml vs 15 [13-30] ng/ml; p < 0.001). Patients receiving vitamin D had significantly larger improvements in inspiratory muscle strength (-11±12 cmH2O vs 0±14 cmH2O; p = 0.004) and maximal oxygen uptake (110±211 ml/min vs -20±187 ml/min; p = 0.029). Improvements in quadriceps strength (15±16 Nm) or six minutes walking distance (40±55 meter) were not significantly different from the effects in the placebo group (7±19 Nm and 11±74 meter; p>0.050).

Conclusion: High dose vitamin D supplementation during rehabilitation may have mild additional benefits to training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise Tolerance / drug effects
  • Exercise Tolerance / physiology
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / drug effects
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vital Capacity / drug effects
  • Vital Capacity / physiology
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*


  • Vitamin D