Get enough Vitamin D to optimise your lung function
by Ashleigh Feltham
Accredited Practising Dietitian and Accredited Nutritionist
The ability to breathe at your best capacity is important no matter who you are. Whether you want to keep up with your kids, run faster or longer or simply optimise your quality of life. Lungs enable your body to remove waste and take in essential oxygen for the function and health of every cell in your body.
A relevant topic for all of us around the world is COVID-19. This virus attacks your lung function and those with lower lung capacity are at higher risk of complications if the virus is contracted. Having optimal lung function is like insurance if the worst were to happen and you tested positive to COVID-19.
To look after your lung health and optimise your lung function, healthy lifestyle choices like not smoking and including aerobic exercise 2-3 times a week are important. What you may not have considered is that your diet can also impact your lung function.
Vitamin D is well known to support your immune system function and bone health. Vitamin D controls the activity of over 200 genes. Genes hold information to make the proteins which form working cells in your body. Optimal vitamin D appears to influence what proteins are made and to ensure your lungs have all the cells needed to function well.
A study of 68,457 healthy Korean males who were not currently suffering from any medical condition found that those who did not have enough vitamin D had a reduced lung function. Specifically, reduced capacity to force air out of the lungs and reduced amount of air for exhalation.
Getting enough vitamin D through adequate sun exposure was previously thought to be the only important way to obtain vitamin D. Research has shifted and the need to include foods with vitamin D like Safcol Seafood, the yolk of eggs, dairy and fortified food and drink products, should now be part of your Vitamin D intake.
Take home message
Now more than ever is there a need to get enough vitamin D, to protect your overall health and optimise your immune function. Make sure you are not only getting enough sun but including vitamin D rich foods in your diet like Safcol Seafood to keep your lungs working at their best.
Lee, J., Park, H.K., Kwon, M. et al. Decreased lung function is associated with vitamin D deficiency in apparently health, middle aged Koreans: the Kangbuk Samsung Health Study. Eur J Clin Nutr (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41430-020-00748-7