Researchers in Spain have discovered that 82 percent of hospitalized patients with Covid-19 were vitamin D deficient in a new study published today.
They studied levels of the vitamin in 216 patients admitted to the hospital for Covid-19 treatment in March this year, finding that 8 in 10 patients were considered clinically deficient.
Vitamin D is essential for bone health, but is also thought to have beneficial effects on the immune system too with some evidence that having sufficient vitamin D may give some protection against respiratory tract infections.
Despite its importance, vitamin D deficiency is common, with one study from 2011 estimating that 41.6 percent of U.S. adults are deficient.
This number varies greatly depending on race with 82.1 percent of Black Americans being deficient and 69.2 percent of Hispanic Americans.
Vitamin D can be produced naturally by exposure to sunlight and found in some foods, including oily fish, eggs and fortified milk and plant-based milk substitutes.
The work published today in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism also looked at a control group of 197 people who lived in the same geographical area and were similar to the Covid-19 patient group in age and sex.
Among these people, 47 percent were vitamin D deficient.
However, it is important to point out that the conclusions of this study are correlative, not causative – meaning that it can’t be concluded from this work that vitamin D deficiency was directly responsible for a higher chance of being hospitalized with Covid-19.
The Spanish research is not alone in suggesting that vitamin D might be beneficial in protecting hospitalized individuals from adverse outcomes.
Last month, a study from researchers in Boston found that patients over 40 were over 50 percent less likely to die from the infection if they had sufficient levels of vitamin D.
However, the more recent study from Spain wasn’t able to conclude any link between vitamin D deficiency and severity of disease. So the information regarding any benefit of vitamin D for Covid-19 is still a bit inconclusive.
In certain parts of the world, especially where sunlight hours are limited during winter, vitamin D supplementation is routinely recommended by physicians.
So, should everyone start taking vitamin D now even if it isn’t clear whether it might help with Covid-19? Well, not necessarily.
It is important to note that too much vitamin D can be toxic and it can also interact with certain medications.
So, if in any doubt, check with your doctor about whether it is recommended and safe to take vitamin D supplements. – Forbes