This site is intended for health professionals only

Home / Clinical / Most Covid-19 hospital patients have vitamin D deficiency, study finds

Most Covid-19 hospital patients have vitamin D deficiency, study finds

By Mimi Launder

29 Oct 2020

Scientists have warned vitamin D deficiency in ‘high-risk individuals’ should be identified and treated after a study found over 80% of hospital patients with Covid-19 were lacking in the vitamin.

The University of Cantabria research found that 82.2% of coronavirus patients, out of 216 tested, at Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecill were deficient in vitamin D. Men had lower levels than women. 

Researchers recommended vitamin D treatment for ‘high-risk individuals’, such as the elderly and patients with comorbidities, and Covid-19 patients.

Study co-author José Hernández said: ‘[Vitamin D treatment] might have beneficial effects in both the musculoskeletal and the immune system.’

Coronavirus patients with lower vitamin D levels also had raised serum levels of inflammatory markers, such as ferritin and D-dimer. These rise when the body is fighting off an infection.

In contrast, out of a control group of people who didn’t have Covid-19, just 47% of people were deficient in vitamin D.

However, the research did not find a link between circulating levels of vitamin D and severity of Covid-19 infection, such as ICU admission, the need for mechanical ventilation or mortality.

Dr Hernández continued: ‘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.

‘Vitamin D treatment should be recommended in Covid-19 patients with low levels of vitamin D circulating in the blood,’ he added.

Vitamin D is a hormone the kidneys produce that controls blood calcium concentration and impacts the immune system.

Deficiency in the vitamin 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.

The article was first published on the Pharmacist’s sister publication, Nursing in Practice

Want news like this straight to your inbox?

Latest News

Dealing with constipation: a guide for pharmacists
Professor Anton Emmanuel, consultant gastroenterologist at UCLH and the National Hospital for Neurology & Neurosurgery,...
New weight-loss treatment for high-risk obese patients approved by NICE
The use of liraglutide as an obesity treatment on the NHS for patients with pre-diabetes...
Covid-19-induced skin rashes: which might pharmacy staff encounter?
Rod Tucker discusses what research has uncovered about a link between skin rashes and Covid-19...