Low levels of vitamin D put people at increased risk of contracting COVID-19, a study by the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University and Leumit Health Services (LHS) says.
“The main finding of our study was the significant association of low plasma vitamin D level with the likelihood of COVID-19 infection among patients who were tested for COVID-19, even after adjustment for age, gender, socio-economic status and chronic, mental and physical disorders,” said Dr. Eugene Merzon, head of the Department of Managed Care and leading researcher of the LHS group. “Furthermore, low vitamin D level was associated with the risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19 infection, although this association wasn’t significant after adjustment for other confounders.”
About 70% of adults worldwide are deficient in vitamin D, which is linked to immune responses, said Dr. Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern, the head of the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine research group.
The researchers analyzed the data of 782 Israelis who tested positive for the coronavirus and 7,807 Israelis who tested negative for the coronavirus and determined that low vitamin D was a factor in both COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
“We don’t know the mechanism,” Frenkel-Morgenstern said. “What we do know is that people who develop severe COVID and were hospitalized – these people have significantly low vitamin D levels.”
The study, which is the largest of its kind, was recently published in The FEBS Journal.
Smaller studies have reached the same conclusions, with a report in Clinical Neurology News earlier this month urging people to ensure they obtain the daily recommended dose of vitamin D to help thwart coronavirus infections.
“Our finding is in agreement with the results of previous studies in the field,” said Dr. Ilan Green, head of the LHS Research Institute. “Reduced risk of acute respiratory tract infection following vitamin D supplementation has been reported.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)