If your body has low levels of this, you have a higher chance of dying from COVID-19

Old age and comorbidities are not the only predictors of COVID-19 related mortality. As fatal cases appear in more diverse communities researchers are beginning to draft a shortlist of contributing factors.

The latest comes from a new study conducted by a team of Indonesian researchers. In it, the authors compellingly establish a correlation between COVID-19 deaths and Vitamin D insufficiency based on 780 laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases.

“Age, sex, co-morbidity, Vitamin D status, and disease outcome (mortality) were extracted from electronic medical records. The aim was to determine patterns of mortality and associated factors, with a special focus on Vitamin D status,” the authors wrote in the new cohort analysis. “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.”

Patterns of COVID-19 Mortality and Vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency  

The research, led by Dr. Prabowo Raharusuna indicates that those who are disproportionately affected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus are additionally put at risk by a failure to achieve Vitamin D; an agent studied to pose a major influence on serum25 levels in the human body. 

Independently conducted studies have already verified that patients who meet the recommended daily value of vitamin D increase their likelihood of developing mild COVID-19 cases following SARS-CoV-2 transmission by nearly 20 times. 

Children are advised to achieve between 400 and 800 IU a day (or 10–20 micrograms), and individuals aged 71 and older are advised to increase this value to 800 IU.

The new paper, premised by Indonesian cohorts, lengthens these findings by linking coronaviruses fatalities with each and every recurring element. 

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.

When the researchers adjusted for factors like age, sex, and comorbidity, Vitamin D status remained a strong indicator of  COVID-19 related mortality.

“This study focused on identifying patterns of mortality among patients infected with COVID-19 and the possible association between serum 25(OH)D [vitamin D] levels and mortality outcomes,” the paper continued. “Randomized controlled trials are warranted to investigate the role of vitamin D supplementation on COVID-19 outcomes and to establish the underlying mechanisms.”

The Vitamin D insufficient participants involved in the new cohort study increased their odds of succumbing to COVID-19 by a factor of 13 while the vitamin D deficient patients increased this odd by a factor of 19.   

Unfortunately, more than 40% of the US population can be medically defined as Vitamin D deficient. In addition to keeping us protected against progressive illnesses,  Vitamin D improves our ability to absorb calcium, preventing degenerative diseases like osteoporosis later in life and even many forms of cancer.

Great Vitamin D sources include:

  • Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
  • orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks

Collectively, all of the findings posited in the last month suggest that an increase in serum 25(OH)D levels in the body has the dual potential to improve moderate coronavirus outcomes and temper severe to critical manifestations.

Similarly a decrease in serum 25(OH)D level in the body likely compounds all clinical outcomes in  COVID-19 patients. 

“Vitamin D status is significantly associated with clinical outcomes. A multinomial logistic regression analysis reported that for each standard deviation increase in serum 25(OH)D, the odds of having a mild clinical outcome rather than a severe outcome were approximately 7.94 times while interestingly, the odds of having a mild clinical outcome rather than a critical outcome were approximately 19.61 times,” The Social Science Research Network reports.

CW Headley is a reporter for the Ladders and can be reached at cheadley@theladders.com