Vitamin D supplementation in respiratory diseases: evidence from randomized controlled trials

Pol Arch Intern Med. 2017 Nov 30;127(11):775-784. doi: 10.20452/pamw.4134. Epub 2017 Nov 2.


Pulmonary diseases are one of the most important causes of morbidity and mortality. Although vitamin D is best known for its role in calcium, phosphorus, and bone homeostasis, it has gained attention in the recent years because of a wide range of extraskeletal effects, including its immunomodulatory and antibacterial potential. Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in chronic pulmonary diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, and asthma, and several clinical studies have been conducted investigating the effect of vitamin D supplementation on disease outcomes. In this review, we searched for positive evidence on vitamin D supplementation from randomized controlled trials and elaborated on the optimal serum vitamin D levels and dosing regimens for an effective intervention. While vitamin D supplementation seems to be beneficial as an add‑on treatment for adult patients with asthma and a potent intervention to reduce exacerbations in patients with COPD, there is little evidence for its therapeutic use in cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Asthma / diet therapy
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cystic Fibrosis / diet therapy
  • Cystic Fibrosis / drug therapy
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Middle Aged
  • Pneumonia / diet therapy
  • Pneumonia / drug therapy
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diet therapy
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Respiration Disorders / diet therapy
  • Respiration Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis / diet therapy
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy
  • Vitamin D / pharmacology
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Vitamin D