Low Vitamin D levels can cause autoimmune lung disease--study
As per a novel study led by Brent Kinder, MD, UC Health pulmonologist, director of the Interstitial Lung Disease Center at the University of Cincinnati, Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a higher risk of developing autoimmune lung diseases.
People with inadequate levels of the vitamin are more prone to autoimmune-related connective tissue diseases, like lupus and type 1 diabetes [Also called insulin dependent diabetes; a condition in which the pancreas produces so little insulin that the body cannot use blood glucose as energy; which must be controlled with daily insulin injections.]
In a statement, Len Horovitz, MD, a pulmonary [pertains to lungs and respiratory system] specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, commented that "vitamin D is known to promote wound healing, and to benefit the immune system [complex network of specialized cells and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by ] . So it is not surprising to find that patients with immune lung disorders are vitamin D deficient."
The study details
The study, funded by an NIH Clinical Research Loan Repayment Grant from the National heart, lung and blood institute, looked at 118 patients of connective tissue disease-related autoimmune interstitial lung disease (ILD) belonging to the UC ILD Center database-67 with 51 people with other causes of lung fibrosis [the growth of scar tissue possibly due to infection, inflammation, injury, or even healing.] -for serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels.
The researchers evaluated the participants in order to determine an association between their serum levels and the patients' conditions.
Patients with connective tissue diseases were found to be more vitamin D deficient as compared to the ones with other types of interstitial lung diseases i.e. 52 percent versus 20 percent, the study revealed.
Decreased vitamin D levels were linked to reduced lung function as well.
"Beyond the impact on bone health, the strong association of vitamin D deficiency with the presence of connective tissue disease seen in this and other studies suggests a possible pathogenic role of vitamin D in autoimmune disorders, which frequently have life-threatening manifestations in the lung," the researchers wrote.
These findings are being reported in the Jan. 4 edition of the journal 'Chest.'