Low plasma 25(OH) vitamin D level is associated with an increased risk of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections, an Israeli population-based study has found.
Vitamin D is recognized as an important co-factor in several physiological processes linked with bone and calcium metabolism, and also in diverse non-skeletal outcomes, including autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cognitive decline, and infections.
In particular, the pronounced impact of vitamin D metabolites on the immune system response, and on the development of COVID-19 infection by the novel SARS CoV-2 virus, has been previously described in a few studies worldwide.
The collaborative group of scientists from the Leumit Health Services (LHS) and the Azrieli Faculty of Medicine of Bar-Ilan University aimed to determine associations of low plasma 25(OH)D with the risk of COVID-19 infection and hospitalization.
Using the real-world data and Israeli cohort of 782 COVID-19 positive patients and 7,807 COVID-19 negative patients, the groups identified that low plasma vitamin D level appears to be an independent risk factor for COVID-19 infection and hospitalization.
“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 a leading researcher of the LHS group.
“Our finding is in agreement with the results of previous studies in the field. Reduced risk of acute respiratory tract infection following vitamin D supplementation has been reported,” said Dr. Ilan Green, Head of the LHS Research Institute.
Dr. Dmitry Tworowski and Dr. Alessandro Gorohovski. from Bar-Ilan University’s Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, suggest that the study could have a very significant impact.
“The main strength of our study is it’s being large, real-world, and population-based,” they explained.