Jerusalem, June 27 – People with low vitamin D levels are at least 20 per cent more likely to die from Covid-19 than people who are not, according to a new study.
The study by researchers from the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University in Safed and the Galilee Medical Center (GMC) in Nahariya, Israel, found that being deficient in vitamin D before contracting Covid-19 has a direct impact on the disease’s severity and mortality. The findings have been published on the medical sharing site MedRxiv and is also being submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The study revealed that 26 per cent of people who had a pre-infection level of vitamin D of 20 ng/mL died, compared to 3 per cent of those who had higher levels of vitamin D — a difference of 23 per cent, said Amir Bashkin, director of the Endocrinology and Diabetes Unit at GMC.
While the study falls short of pinpointing vitamin D as the cause of death, “we know that people who had low vitamin D died more,” according to Bashkin.
Further “we found that if vitamin D was low, it was correlated with severe disease and mortality in an independent manner,” Bashkin said.
When the team tested all other known comorbidities that might cause severity, they found vitamin D was an independent predictor, the report said.
Early this month, a study at McGill University in Quebec, Canada, showed no evidence for an association between genetically predicted vitamin D levels and Covid-19 susceptibility, hospitalisation, or severe disease.
It is because previous studies looked only at vitamin D levels only once people were sick, which could make the studies inaccurate, said the new study researchers.
“It is very important that people take vitamin D, especially older people,” said lead author Amiel Dror from the varsity.
The recommended dose is around 1,200 mg per day, but people should consult with their healthcare provider before taking any supplement to be sure not to take too much or too little, Bashkin said.
“If you are going to encounter Covid-19 next time, perhaps in a next wave, you better have a sufficient level of vitamin D in your body,” Dror said.