(NaturalNews) Australian researchers have identified a clear link between vitamin D deficiency and inhibited lung function. Published in the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, the new study reveals that inadequate circulating blood levels of vitamin D are responsible for both altered lung structure and decreased lung function.
Dr. Graeme Zosky, a research fellow at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research in Subiaco, Australia, and his team compared two groups of mice, one with vitamin D deficiency and the other with normal levels. After evaluating microscopic lung tissue samples and air flow in and out of the lungs, the team determined that vitamin D deficient mice had increased airway resistance and significantly reduced lung volume compared to control mice.
"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 Zosky. "This is the first direct mechanistic evidence showing that vitamin D deficiency alters lung development, which may explain the association between obstructive lung disease and levels of vitamin D."
Besides causing reduced functionality of the lungs, vitamin D deficiency is also linked to reduced overall lung size, based on the study findings. Researchers, however, say further investigation is necessary to determine if smaller lungs came from the subjects' own deficiency, or their parents' deficiency.
"The differences we observed in lung volume and lung mechanics, which were substantial and physiologically relevant, raise serious concerns regarding the increased prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in communities around the world," added Zosky. "The results also raise concerns about the potential this deficiency may have on lung health, and in particular, the potential impact deficiency may have on the susceptibility to obstructive lung disease."