Small-scale study finds vitamin D deficiency prevalent in COVID-19 patients

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More than 80 percent of hospitalized novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patients have vitamin D deficiency, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

For the study, researchers looked at 216 COVID-19 patients at the Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla in Spain. The researchers found 80 percent were vitamin D deficient and men had lower vitamin D levels than women. COVID-19 patients with lower vitamin D levels also had raised serum levels of inflammatory markers such as ferritin and D-dimer, the researchers said.

Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a variety of health concerns, although research is still underway into why the hormone impacts other systems of the body. Many studies point to the beneficial effect of vitamin D on the immune system, especially regarding protection against infections.

One approach could be 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 at higher risk for developing severe COVID-19, according to José Hernández, PhD, study co-author of the University of Cantabria in Santander in Spain.

"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,” he said.

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