COVID-19: 80% of affected patients have a vitamin D deficiency

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COVID-19: 80% of affected patients have a vitamin D deficiency

A growing body of research links vitamin D to COVID-19, leading some experts to believe the “sunshine vitamin” may be helpful in fighting the virus .

  • A new study of 216 people with COVID-19 found that 80% lacked adequate vitamin D blood levels.
  • The study also found that people who had both lower COVID-19 and vitamin D levels also had higher numbers of inflammatory markers such as ferritin and D-dimer, which have been linked to poor results for COVID-19.
  • A different study found that COVID-19 patients who had adequate levels of vitamin D had a 51.5% lower risk of dying from the disease and a significantly reduced risk of complications.
  • Medical experts theorize that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D may help reduce the risk or aid recovery from severe COVID-19 for some people, although further testing is needed.

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This new study found a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and a higher risk of COVID-19 . What's more , another study found the same thing - noting that more than 80% of people with COVID-19 did not have adequate levels of the "sunshine vitamin" in their blood.

As part of the new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers examined 216 patients with COVID-19 at a hospital in Spain. The scientists matched the patients to controls from another dataset.

Of all patients, 82.2 per hundred were vitamin D deficient .

In research, men had lower vitamin D levels than women.

People who had contracted COVID-19 and had lower vitamin D levels also had higher inflammatory markers such as ferritin and D-dimer.

People with vitamin D deficiency had a higher prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. They also had longer hospital stays, the study found.

Comorbidities such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity are associated with low vitamin D status, said the Dr. Hans Konrad Biesalski , professor at the University of Hohenheim who has assessed the effects of vitamin D on COVID-19 .

“It appears that patients with poor vitamin D status may have contracted a more severe form of COVID-19,” he said. But the new study did not prove this relationship.

Vitamin D and COVID-19 Recovery

However, in addition to the correlation between vitamin D levels and risk of COVID-19, many people are looking at how it can protect people or help them recover from the disease.

“One approach is to identify and treat vitamin D deficiency, especially in high-risk individuals such as the elderly, patients with comorbidities, and nursing home residents, who are the primary target population for COVID. -19,” the study co-author said. José L. Hernández, PhD, from the University of Cantabria in Santander, Spain.

He said people at high risk for COVID-19 — the elderly, people with underlying conditions, and people living in nursing homes — can be treated with vitamin D.

Vitamin D treatment should be recommended for COVID-19 patients with low circulating vitamin D levels in the blood, as this approach may have beneficial effects on both the musculoskeletal and immune systems” , Hernández said in a statement .

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To protect yourself

Many people are deficient in vitamin D, according to previous research . It is a global health problem .

Should you get your vitamin D levels checked? Take a supplement is it enough to protect you, or at least reduce your chances of contracting COVID-19?

Dr. Michael F. Holick , who has researched vitamin D and directs Boston University's Bone Health Care Clinic, said the Endocrine Society's practice guidelines do not recommend that everyone be screened.

It's reasonable to keep tabs on vitamin D levels in people with fat malabsorption syndrome, obese people, or those with other medical conditions, Holick told Healthline.

The Endocrine Society recommended that infants receive 400-1000 IU per day, children 600-1000 IU per day and adults 600-2000 IU per day. The amount needed depends on your current levels or if you are trying to increase them.

Obese adults may need 2 to 3 times more, noted Holick.

If vitamin D status is low, supplementation may be helpful , Biesalski agreed.

There are several publications that suggest vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of upper respiratory infections, including influenza and coronavirus, Holick explained.

The study carried out by his team  out of 191,000 COVID-19 positive patients found that vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of contracting the disease by 54.5% .

In  another small study that he did, Holick observed that COVID-19 patients who had adequate levels of vitamin D had a 51.5% lower risk of dying from the disease and a reduced risk of complications.

For people with COVID-19, Holick said there's no downside to increasing your vitamin D intake unless a person has a rare disorder such as sarcoidosis and other disorders. granulomatous.

Based on the literature and own experience, it is reasonable for children and adults to take adequate amounts of vitamin D as recommended by the Endocrine Society to help reduce the risk of contracting the virus, as well as to reduce morbidity and mortality if a child or adult develops COVID-19, he says.

We don't know that vitamin D has a preventive effect on the body, noted the Dr. Steven Abrams , professor of pediatrics at the University of Texas at Austin.

“A very low vitamin D status has many negative consequences and this could be the case for COVID-19, but it is not the same as saying that routine vitamin D supplementation will prevent serious infection” , he told Healthline.

A look into the future

More research is needed to better understand the link between vitamin D and COVID-19 .

There is already evidence that getting enough vitamin D regulates the immune system for optimal health. Holick said it would be interesting to know if taking vitamin D with the vaccine would improve the effectiveness of the vaccine.

Biesalski would like to know how a balance between vitamins A and D would impact vaccine success, as has been shown for influenza and measles, he said.

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