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The study was published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
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. "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.
Source: The Endocrine Society