More than 80 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID are deficient in this nutrient.
Estimates of the number of people with low vitamin D status varies from 1 billion to as many as 50 percent of the world’s population.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes, and high rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
According to a study, vitamin D deficiency is found in 82.2 percent of hospitalised patients with COVID.
25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) or calcifediol is the major form of vitamin D and its levels are influenced by geographical and seasonal pattern.
Calcifediol is mainly converted in the kidneys to calcitriol, the active hormone of vitamin D.
The hormone regulates blood calcium concentration which keeps the bones healthy and the immune response in balance against infection.
The research team examined 216 COVID patients in a Spanish hospital and found over 80 percent of them were vitamin D deficient.
Men had lower levels of vitamin D than women.
Also, those patients with vitamin D deficiency had increased levels of inflammatory markers ferritin and D-dimer in their blood.
Elevated levels of these proteins could cause a cytokine storm, a life-threatening condition associated with COVID.
Dr José L. Hernández, the study’s first author, said:
“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 main target population for the COVID-19.
Vitamin D treatment should be recommended in COVID-19 patients with low levels of vitamin D circulating in the blood since this approach might have beneficial effects in both the musculoskeletal and the immune system.”
A previous study by Professor Holick and colleagues revealed that vitamin D sufficiency helps to overcome the coronavirus disease and other types of upper respiratory infections such as influenza.
Patients with a sufficient amount of vitamin D have higher levels of lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell which fights infection, and their blood shows a lower level of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory indicator.
A blood level of 30 nanogram per millilitre of vitamin D has been shown to protect patients with COVID-19 against complications and death, as well as reducing the risk of getting ill by a large amount.
About the author
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (Hernández et al., 2020).
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