Study indicates that 82% of patients with COVID-19 have a lack of vitamin D
The researchers observed that 82.2% of the 216 covid-19 patients at the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital had vitamin D deficiency, and that men had lower levels than women.
More than 80% of COVID-19 patients are deficient in vitamin D and this deficiency is more common in men, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism in which 216 patients were observed.
The COVID-19 patients in this study were from the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital in the Spanish city of Santander. Vitamin D is a hormone produced by the kidneys that controls the concentration of calcium in the blood and affects the immune system, explains a statement from the Society for Endocrinology, which brings together more than 18,000 experts from 122 countries.
Its deficiency is related to a variety of health problems, but the scientific community is still investigating why. Also, more and more studies point to the beneficial effect of vitamin D on the immune system, especially with regard to protection against infections.
In this sense, José L. Hernández, from the Spanish University of Cantabria, indicates that one approach would be to identify and treat vitamin D deficiency, especially in those groups at high risk of the COVID-19 disease, such as the elderly or patients with comorbidities.
Treatment with vitamin D should be recommended for COVID-19 patients with low levels of the hormone in the blood, as this approach could have beneficial effects on both the musculoskeletal and immune systems, says this expert.
The researchers observed that 82.2% of the 216 COVID-19 patients at the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital had vitamin D deficiency, and that men had lower levels than women.
Specifically, according to this study, COVID-19 patients with lower vitamin D levels also had elevated serum levels of inflammatory markers such as ferritin and D-dimer (a marker related to blood clotting problems).
The scientists in this study found no relationship between vitamin D levels or deficiency and the severity of the disease. The authors acknowledge that the work has some limitations, for example, that it was carried out in a single hospital center, so the data may not be generalized to other settings, ethnicities or countries.
It is also an observational study, so whether vitamin D treatment plays a role in preventing the disease or improving the prognosis of patients with COVID-19 will have to be elucidated in large randomized controlled trials.
These trials are certainly necessary to precisely define the role of supplementation with this vitamin in future waves of SARS-CoV-2 infections, the authors summarize.