Vitamin D deficiency may cause alterations to lung structure, thereby inhibiting their ability to function properly, according to a recent article in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Deficiency of the essential vitamin has previously been linked to increased risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma severity in humans, but has now also been found to alter the shape of the lungs in young test mice. The study was performed in order to determine a direct link between the deficiency and the respiratory disorders which have been found to coexist alongside it.
Researchers tested two-week old mice with Vitamin D deficiencies against a control group of healthy young mice. The mice were tested for the amount of air in their lungs, their lungs' capacity to resist airflow, and differences in lung structure based on microscopic tissue samples.
The vitamin D deficient mice were found to have lower lung function, higher resistance to airflow, lower air capacity and smaller lungs. "The results of this study clearly demonstrate that vitamin D deficiency alters lung growth, resulting in lower lung volume and decrements in lung function," said research fellow, Dr. Graeme Zosky.
Those who develop chronic pulmonary illnesses as a result of a vitamin D deficiency may also encounter difficulties obtaining health and life insurance coverage as a result.