At One Hospital, 80% of COVID Patients Had This in Common

Treating vitamin D deficiency 'might have beneficial effects'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 28, 2020 12:41 PM CDT
At One Hospital, 80% of COVID Patients Had This in Common
A patient infected with COVID-19 is treated in one of the intensive care units at the Severo Ochoa hospital in Leganes, outskirts of Madrid, Spain, on Oct. 9, 2020.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

The results of a new study on COVID-19 patients may have you seeking the sun. Researchers in Santander, Spain, examined 197 patients admitted to hospital for coronavirus treatment between March 10 and March 31, and found 82% had vitamin D deficiency. Comparatively, just 47% had the same deficiency in a control group of 197 people of similar ages and sexes in the same area, per CTV News. What's more, "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 higher levels, per the study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. High levels of troponin can indicate a heart injury, while high levels of ferritin can point to inflammatory conditions.

Vitamin D has been linked to immune system benefits, "especially regarding protection against infections," while deficiency has been linked to numerous health issues, per a release. It's unclear what effect is playing out here. As Sky News reports, there was no link between vitamin D levels and severity of infection, and the study did not identify vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for getting COVID-19. Still, study co-author José L. Hernández suggests doctors "identify and treat vitamin D deficiency, especially in high-risk individuals such as the elderly, patients with comorbidities, and nursing home residents." He adds "this approach might have beneficial effects in both the musculoskeletal and the immune system." A separate trial exploring whether vitamin D offers protection against COVID-19 is already underway, per the BBC. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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