Associations of Serum 25(OH)D Concentrations with Lung Function, Airway Inflammation and Common Cold in the General Population

Nutrients. 2018 Jan 3;10(1):35. doi: 10.3390/nu10010035.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Common Cold / blood
  • Common Cold / diagnosis
  • Common Cold / epidemiology
  • Common Cold / physiopathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exhalation
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Pneumonia / blood
  • Pneumonia / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia / physiopathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Vital Capacity
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / epidemiology


  • Biomarkers
  • Vitamin D
  • Nitric Oxide
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D