June 22, 2018 – Vitamin D and Lungs


Anchor lead: Could one form of severe lung disease have its roots in vitamin D levels? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Interstitial lung disease is an uncommon but sometimes deadly form of progressive scarring of lung tissue. Now research by Erin Michos, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, has shown that the condition may be related to low vitamin D levels.

Michos: Vitamin D in activated form is a hormone. It has anti-inflammatory effects, it modulates the immune system, it also may have antifibrotic effects, regulate different genes that are involved in fibrosis or scarring. So we think that the progression of these spots in the lungs, these interstitial abnormalities, may result from inflammation and fibrosis and if you don’t have adequate vitamin D levels that may be a contributing factor.  :27

Michos notes that many cases of interstitial lung disease aren’t related to any specific factor, so vitamin D levels may be a novel risk factor that would be easy to assess. She says future studies should focus on correcting vitamin D levels and seeing if the condition stabilizes or resolves. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.