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Vitamin D linked to respiratory disease including COVID-19

Wednesday October 28th 2020

A large proportion of patients hospitalised with COVID-19 have a deficiency of vitamin D, according to a new analysis.

Several previous studies have pointed to a beneficial effect of vitamin D on the immune system, in its ability to fight infection.

Dr Jose Hernandez of the University of Cantabria in Santander, Spain, and colleagues tested 216 COVID-19 patients and found that 80% had vitamin D deficiency, with deficiency rates higher in men than women. These patients also had raised levels of some inflammatory markers, including ferritin and D-dimer.

Details were published yesterday (27 October) in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Dr Hernandez suggests: "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.

"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."

A second study, in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health has found that high vitamin A, E, and D intake may be linked to a lower rate of respiratory illnesses in adults.

The researchers looked at figures on 6,115 adults in a long-term UK diet study. Vitamin D intake from supplements, but not from diet, was associated with fewer respiratory complaints.

Professor Sumantra Ray, of Imperial College London, UK, said: ‘Nationally representative data continue to remind us that micronutrient deficiencies are far from a thing of the past, even in higher income nations like the UK, and this trend is mirrored by comparable global data sources from lesser resourced countries to those with advanced health systems.

“Despite this, micronutrient deficiencies are often overlooked as a key contributor to the burden of malnutrition and poor health, presenting an additional layer of challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Hernandez, J. L. et al. Vitamin D Status in Hospitalized Patients With SARS-Cov-2 Infection. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 27 October 2020; doi 10.1210/clinem/dgaa733

Almoosawi, S. et al. Association between vitamin intake and respiratory complaints in adults from the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey years 1-8. BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health 27 October 2020 doi: 10.1136/bmjnph-2020-000150

Tags: Diet & Food | Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals | Respiratory | UK News | World Health

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