British Lung Foundation

The importance of vitamin D

I have been extremely tired and getting worse over the past few months, in fact so bad that I was threatened with a sleep study. However my consultant decided to test my vitamin D levels and it was low. I am now taking 250mcg/10,000 iu vitamin D3 a day for a month. I certainly feel as though I have more energy. I can get up in the morning and can now stay awake until I get home from work. I also had a Dexa scan and was told that I had ostoepenia so the vitamin D must be helping that.

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11 Replies

My mum bought me a sun lamp last winter, and it certainly seemed to help during the worst of the dark mornings. I used it for about half an hour while having my breakfast, before getting ready for work. I haven't used it for a few months though. I don't seem to have the same problems during the spring & summer time.


My doctor was checking my vitamin D level among other things because I was permanently exhausted. A blood test showed my vitamin D level was too low hence taking a supplement. I think it has helped my energy levels.


Hi Stitch, maybe your surgery is like mine and you have to ring or call in a week later for the results. If you had a Vit D shortage the Phebotomist told me I would hear with days. So do not worry and the next time you go to see the doc ask for your results. Take care. Maximonkey

I've got an excellent consultant. I would suggest you ask for another blood test and keep asking for the results. When I had mine done the path lab lost my blood sample so I had to have another one done. Bruises on both arms! If I have a blood test done at the GP I always ask for a copy of the result. If you say you are going to give it to the consultant they should give it to you. Vitamin D levels below 50 are deficient but if it is just over 50 you might be advised to take a supplement.


is that 3 times a day ?

Hello, You must read the blog written by Derek Cummings I think it is something like bitzandbobz but just google Derek Cummings COPD - he is a real advocate of Vitamin D and I have to say my husband has been on it for over 18 months and has only had one infection in all that time - even though we have young children! There has been research that suggests that people in the UK generally and especially the more North you go! - have a deficiency of vitamin D. xx

Vitamin D is something we need to be more aware of I think, I got really upset a couple of years back as I found that after only a 5-6 years of having been diagnosed with emphysema I started to have cardiac problems and in the same year I was sent for a Dexa scan (something I requested) which resulted in another diagnoses of osteoporosis, I then asked the doc to test me for vit D deficiency, found I was deficient. have to take daily supplement through the winter and controlled sun exposure during summer. NHS can't prescribe vit D except in the Calcichew Forte for Osteoporosis but my doc said if I can get D3, to supplement an additional 1000 IU because of my deficiency. I mentioned to my doc, that in the US all lung patients are prescribed vitamin D by their pulmonologist, a personalised dose in accordance with their vit D deficient levels. My doc said she thought eventually it will happen in the UK also.

The trouble is with vitamin D deficiency if people have really low levels it is detrimental to health all round. Whilst once I blamed the steroid inhalers for interfering with my bone health and cardiac health, I think the vit D deficiency also has a bearing on this, but then it is not known if the medicines we take interfere with the absorption of nutrients. Its a catch 22, we need to breath, as ill health will prevail without the meds.

That is why it is so important for us to manage our condition as well as we can, ie with what we can learn on PR, through BLF and other sources, about generally looking after our lungs, and doing all we can to keep us in the best heath we can achieve, ie through good diet, exercise, etc etc etc

Sorry waffled on a bit there ;) x

PS - I want to add that after only 3 months on D supplementation my vit D levels were recovered. I still take it through calcichew forte and up the dose of vit d during winter months. Its IMPORTANT though not to overdose with this vitamin so the docs guidance on this is advisable. My doc said 1000 IU dose is not going to cause any problems even with calcichew forte.

Here's a link on NHS guidelines on Vitamin D which may be of interest to some:

Hi guys. I do know some of you from the NHS choices copd blog. Was notified of this one via my email and will see how it goes before posting. However, as my friend TAD said I am a big advocate of Vitamin D as after reading research a few years ago that a supplement would be good for us with copd, i started to take a supplement. I take 5,000IU a day and have done for more than two years now. Recent research has shown that not only does it help copd, but a vast variety of other illness. I used to suffer from the winter syndrome SAD also, but that was banished the day I started taking vitamin D. My blog is a copd blog, although if you delve you will see much written about D. You can see this at

Since I have taken D many others with copd have also joined me in using a supplement. I am pleased to say that comments I have had from these guys is that every single one of them have benifited from using it. It works by helping your immune system to stay strong, and so able to fight off colds and the nasty bugs that leave us gasping even more for breathe. Even my wife, who is fitn and looks after me, is now taking D. And she has said it has meant she has suffered much less with colds and bugs. Even better D is cheap to buy.

Will read up on this and raise it with my doctor the note of caution is make sure that test results are used thank you for sharing

Thanks for all the comments. I was told to take vitamin D after a blood test showed I had low levels. Lack of vitamin D causes many problems. The only way to know that you do need extra vitamin D is to have a blood test to check your level. I feel less tired after taking extra.


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