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A case-control study published in the November issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that a deficiency in vitamin D was associated with a higher risk of hospitalization for COVID-19. Participants were recruited from both the community and inpatient populations of two hospitals in the United Kingdom in this large-cohort observational study.
In total, 80,670 subjects were involved in the study, making it one of the largest to date linking vitamin D with COVID-19 disease severity. The participants were divided into primary and validation cohorts, depending upon which lab processed their vitamin D test. Out of the 80,670 subjects, 1,808 were admitted to a hospital with COVID-19.
In the primary cohort, the median vitamin D level in non-hospitalized participants with COVID-19 was 50.0 nmol/L compared to 35.0 nmol/L in those who were hospitalized. In the validation cohort, the median vitamin D level was 47.1 nmol/L in non-hospitalized participants versus 33.0 nmol/L in hospitalized patients. Considering both cohorts, the risk of a severe SARS-CoV-2 infection requiring hospital admission was between 2.33 and 2.4 times greater in those with a serum vitamin D level of less than 50.0 nmol/L, after adjusting for age, gender, and season. No association was found between low vitamin D levels and inpatient hospital mortality.
Vitamin D deficiency has been highlighted as a risk factor for viral respiratory illnesses due to its potent immunomodulatory functions. Vitamin D is anti-inflammatory and assists in upregulating the expression of multiple antimicrobial peptides. As the authors of the study concluded, “Urgent action is required to address the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency that increases COVID-19-related morbidity.”
Source: Jude EB, Ling SF, Allcock R, et al. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with higher hospitalisation risk from COVID-19: a retrospective case-control study. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 2021; 106(11), e4708-e4715. DOI: 10.1210/clinem/dgab439.
Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Winter 2021-22 | Volume 45, Number 4
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