As researchers have scrambled to identify which people are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19 (hint: there’s not an easy answer), a small study conducted at a Spanish hospital may direct the conversation to a starting point: vitamin D deficiency.
Eighty percent of 216 COVID-19 positive patients reported having vitamin D deficiencies when they entreated the Hospital Universitario Marques de Valdecilla in Spain, according to a new study.
The research, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, found that four in five patients lacked vitamin D, which is crucial to regulating your immune system. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to rickets, a bone tissue disease, along with other major illnesses.
One of the study’s authors, Jose L. Hernandez, said that treating vitamin D deficiency is a must, especially in older people.
“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 Hernandez in a press release. “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 Vitamin D deficiency linked to COVID-19 isn’t the first, but perhaps it an indicator of just how common it appears in positive patients. A study published earlier this year established a correlation between COVID-19 deaths and Vitamin D deficiencies based on more than 750 cases.
“Results revealed that the majority of the death cases were male and older and had pre-existing conditions and below normal Vitamin D serum level. Univariate analysis revealed that older and male cases with pre-existing conditions and below normal Vitamin D levels were associated with increasing odds of death. When controlling for age, sex, and comorbidity, Vitamin D status is strongly associated with COVID-19 mortality outcome of cases,” authors of the study wrote.
According to the results, the vast majority of Vitamin D deficient patients admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 treatment succumbed to respiratory disease.
Additionally, patients with preexisting conditions, men and the elderly were found to be uniquely aided and debilitated by Vitamin D levels during the recovery process.
Sources of Vitamin D can be found just about everywhere. Fish,
— specifically salmon, herring, and canned tuna — are great sources to provide a boost, in addition to egg yolks and mushrooms.
Vitamin D can also be obtained from the sun.
“We each have vitamin D receptor cells that, through a chain of reactions starting with conversion of cholesterol in the skin, produce vitamin D3 when they’re exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) from the sun,” Yale Medicine dermatologist David J. Leffell, MD, chief of Dermatologic Surgery, said via Yale Medicine.