Low Vitamin D Linked to Increased COVID-19 Risk.
Low plasma vitamin D levels emerged as an independent risk factor for COVID-19 infection and hospitalization in a large, population-based study.
Participants positive for COVID-19 were 50% more likely to have low vs normal 25(OH)D levels in a multivariate analysis that controlled for other confounders, for example.
The take home message for physicians is to “test patients’ vitamin D levels and keep them optimal for the overall health — as well as for a better immuno-response to COVID-19,” senior author Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern, PhD, head of the Cancer Genomics and BioComputing of Complex Diseases Lab at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel, told Medscape Medical News.
Previous and ongoing studies are evaluating a potential role for vitamin D to prevent or minimize the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection, building on years of research addressing vitamin D for other viral respiratory infections. The evidence to date regarding COVID-19, primarily observational studies, has yielded mixed results.
Multiple experts weigh in on the controversy in a previous report. Many point out the limitations of observational data, particularly when it comes to ruling out other factors that could affect the severity of COVID-19 infection. In addition, in a video report, JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, cites an observational study from three South Asian hospitals that found more severe COVID-19 patients had lower vitamin D levels, as well as other “compelling evidence” suggesting an association.
Frenkel-Morgenstern and colleagues studied data for 7807 people, of whom 10.1% were COVID-19 positive. They assessed electronic health records for demographics, potential confounders, and outcomes between February 1 and April 30.
Participants positive for COVID-19 tended to be younger and were more likely to be men and live in a lower socioeconomic area compared with the participants who were negative for COVID-19 in a univariate analysis.