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Low Vitamin D Levels as a Risk Factor for Greater Covid-19 Severity

Evidence from cohort studies, an observational study, meta-analyses, and reviews.

Shin Jie Yong, MSc (Res)
4 min readMay 8, 2020

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PART I: Cohort Studies

This study, “Low plasma 25(OH) vitamin D level is associated with increased risk of COVID‐19 infection: an Israeli population‐based study,” was published in July. Researchers in Israel identified lower overall vitamin D levels in 782 Covid-19 compared to 7,025 non-Covid-19 participants. More importantly, low vitamin D levels increased the odds of hospitalization by 95%, after adjusting for demographics and comorbidities confounders. “Low plasma 25(OH)D level appears to be an independent risk factor for COVID‐19 infection and hospitalization,” the authors concluded.

In a smaller cohort study, titled “Low serum 25‐hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) levels in patients hospitalized with COVID‐19 are associated with greater disease severity,” researchers measured blood vitamin D levels in 134 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK. They found that only 19% of patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) had normal vitamin D levels, and this number is 39.1% in those with non-ICU level severity. This relationship between low baseline vitamin D status and greater Covid-19 severity is also seen in a separate cohort study of 80 patients.

PART II: OBSERVATIONAL STUDY

There’s another observational evidence pointing towards the detriments of lack of vitamin D in the body. Dr. Petre Cristian Ilie, consultant and urological surgeon at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Norfolk, lead a study examining the relationship between average levels of blood vitamin D and COVID-19 death rate in 20 European countries.

“Vitamin D levels are severely low in the aging population especially in Spain, Italy, and Switzerland. This is also the most vulnerable group of the population in relation to COVID-19,” they wrote in a pre-print paper (which has been peer-reviewed and published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research). “Vitamin D has already been shown [by a meta-analysis] to protect against acute respiratory infections and it was shown to be safe. We believe, that we can advise vitamin D supplementation to protect…

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Shin Jie Yong, MSc (Res)

Named Standford's world top 1% scientists | Independent science writer and researcher | Powerlifter with national records | Medium boost program's nominator