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Over 80 Percent of COVID-19 Patients Have Vitamin D Deficiency, Study Finds

by DailyHealthPost Editorial

Over 80 percent COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Spain have vitamin D deficiency, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

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

“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,” said study co-author José L. Hernández, Ph.D., of the University of Cantabria in Santander, Spain.

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“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.”

The researchers found 80 percent of 216 COVID-19 patients at the Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla had vitamin D deficiency, and men had lower vitamin D levels than women. COVID-19 patients with lower vitamin D levels also had raised serum levels of inflammatory markers such as ferritin and D-dimer.

Why Your Liver and Kidneys Matter

Contrary to popular belief, vitamin D is not one chemical but many. When your body is exposed to sunlight (specifically ultraviolet B rays), the cholesterol in your skin cells start to produce vitamin D3. But the body can’t use this form of vitamin until it is further processed by the liver and kidneys.

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The first stop is in the liver, where vitamin D is transformed into 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which is the same compound that doctors refer to when trying to measure vitamin D deficiencies. The next stop are the kidneys. At this point, 25-hydroxyvitamin D turns into 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D, which is also known as the active form of the vitamin.

As mentioned above, vitamin D is best-known for keeping bones healthy. Without enough vitamin D, the body can only absorb 10-15% of dietary calcium and between 30-40% when in adequate supply.

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