Spanish researchers have determined that 82 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in a recent study were vitamin D deficient. They studied vitamin D levels in 216 patients who were admitted to the hospital in March 2020 and found that 8 out of 10 patients were clinically deficient.
The study, which was published Tuesday, October 27 in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism also analyzed a control group of 197 people in the same geographical area and with demographics that were similar to the COVID-19 patient group. Among the control group, 47 percent were vitamin D deficient.
It should be pointed out, however, that correlation does not imply causation. In other words, this study does prove that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19.
Vitamin D is crucial for proper skeletal strength, however, it is also postulated that it promotes a healthy immune system. There is a body of evidence that suggests that maintaining a sufficient level of vitamin D may offer a modicum of protection against respiratory infections.
A study published in Nutrition Research in 2011 estimated that 41.6 percent of Americans were vitamin D deficient. The study also found that the deficiency was race-dependent with 69.2 percent of Hispanics and 82.1 percent of Black Americans being vitamin D deficient.
The Spanish study is not the only one to propose that vitamin D could prevent adverse outcomes in hospitalized patients.
Recently, scientists at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) analyzed data from 235 COVID-19 patients who had been hospitalized. Researchers discovered that patients older than 40 were 51.5 percent less likely to die from the disease provided they had a sufficient level of Vitamin D. Nonetheless, the Spanish study was unable to provide a causal link between vitamin D deficiency and severity of the infection. Therefore, the data so far is inconclusive regarding the therapeutic benefit of vitamin D for the treatment of COVID-19.