Over 80% of COVID-19 patients have vitamin D deficiency — Spain hospital study

Organisation: Position: Deadline Date: Location:

Over 80% of 200 COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Spain have vitamin D deficiency, according to a study.

Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) is a hormone the kidneys produce that controls blood calcium concentration and impacts the immune system. 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 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," said study co-author Dr José L Hernández, of the University of Cantabria in Santander, 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."

The researchers found 80% of 216 COVID-19 patients at the Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla had vitamin D deficiency, 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 manuscript received funding from Instituto de Salud Carlos III.

Background: The role of vitamin D status in COVID-19 patients is a matter of debate.
Objectives: To assess serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25OHD) levels in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 and to analyze the possible influence of vitamin D status on disease severity.
Methods: Retrospective case-control study of 216 COVID-19 patients and 197 population-based controls. Serum 25OHD levels were measured in both groups. Besides, the association of serum 25OHD levels with COVID-19 severity (admission to the Intensive Care Unit, requirements for mechanical ventilation, or mortality) was also evaluated.
Results: Of the 216 patients, 19 were on vitamin D supplements and were analyzed separately. In COVID-19 patients, mean±SD 25OHD levels were 13.8±7.2 ng/ml, compared to 20.9±7.4 ng/ml in controls (p<0.0001). 25OHD values were lower in men than in women. Vitamin D deficiency was found in 82.2% of COVID-19 cases and 47.2% of population-based controls (p<0.0001). 25OHD inversely correlate to serum ferritin (p=0.013) and D-dimer levels (p=0.027). Vitamin D-deficient COVID-19 patients had a greater prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, raised serum ferritin and troponin levels, as well as a longer length of hospital stay than those with serum 25OHD levels ≥20 ng/ml. No causal relationship was found between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 severity as a combined endpoint or as its separate components.
Conclusions: 25OHD levels are lower in hospitalized COVID-19 patients compared to population-based controls and these patients had a higher prevalence of deficiency. We did not find any relationship between vitamin D concentrations or vitamin deficiency and the severity of the disease.

José L Hernández, Daniel Nan, Marta Fernandez-Ayala, Mayte García-Unzueta, Miguel A Hernández-Hernández, Marcos López-Hoyos, Pedro Muñoz Cacho, José M Olmos, Manuel Gutiérrez-Cuadra, Juan J Ruiz-Cubillán, Javier Crespo, Víctor M Martínez-Taboada

Endocrine Society material Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism abstract

Receive Medical Brief's free weekly e-newsletter

Related Posts

Thank you for subscribing to MedicalBrief

MedicalBrief is Africa’s premier medical news and research weekly newsletter. MedicalBrief is published every Thursday and delivered free of charge by email to over 33 000 health professionals.

Please consider completing the form below. The information you supply is optional and will only be used to compile a demographic profile of our subscribers. Your personal details will never be shared with a third party.

Thank you for taking the time to complete the form.