Vitamin D is hypothesized to have a beneficial effect on lung function and respiratory infections. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations with lung function, airway inflammation and common colds. We performed a cross-sectional analysis in the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study, a population-based cohort study. We included participants with measurements of serum 25(OH)D, Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 s (FEV₁), Forced Vital Capacity (FVC), Fractional Exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO), and data on self-reported common colds (n = 6138). In crude associations, serum 25(OH)D was positively associated with FEV₁ and FVC, and negatively with FeNO and the occurrence of a common cold. After adjustment for confounders, however, these associations disappeared. Stratified analyses showed that Body Mass Index (BMI) was an effect modifier in the relationship between serum 25(OH)D and FEV₁, FVC and FeNO. In obese participants (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m²), 10 nmol/L higher 25(OH)D was associated with 0.46% predicted higher FEV₁ (95% Confidence Interval: 0.17 to 0.75), 0.46% predicted higher FVC (0.18 to 0.74), and 0.24 ppb lower FeNO (-0.43 to -0.04). Thus, in the total study population, 25(OH)D concentrations were not associated with lung function, airway inflammation and common colds. In obese participants, however, higher 25(OH)D concentrations were associated with a better lung function and lower airway inflammation.
Keywords: airway infection; airway inflammation; cold; lung function; obesity; pulmonary function; vitamin D.