Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also called COPD is one of the top 10 leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States.

In COPD, people develop breathing problems because of blockage of flow of air. We often see COPD as a result of cigarette smoking and the damage done over the years. But now there is a report from the Annals of Internal Medicine that there could be a vitamin deficiency that contributes as well.

Vitamin D deficiency is present in 60 percent to 75 percent of patients with severe COPD. So it brings up a question whether or not supplementation with high doses of vitamin D could reduce the incidence of COPD exacerbations.

The reasearch was done and patients were given vitamin D, but this is what we call a negative study. Researchers found that vitamin D supplementation did not reduce the number of acute exacerbations of COPD nor improve lung function.

At this point it is safe to say vitamion D won’t hurt but there does not appear to be a definite advantage.