Hannover. The University of Hohenheim has established a possible connection between vitamin D deficiency and the severity of a Covid 19 infection. The research team led by nutritionist Hans-Konrad Biesalski has evaluated 30 studies on this topic and is coming to the resultthat the risk of a severe course of Covid-19 in patients with low vitamin D values is significantly higher than in patients with normal values. Their results were published in the “NSF Journal”.
The researchers write that there is ample evidence that various non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. “These comorbidities, together with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of serious Covid-19 events,” the report said.
Vitamin D deficiency in high risk patients as a signal
Based on an analysis of 30 studies with 53,000 Covid-19 patients, the researchers blame comorbidities such as chronic kidney disease and advanced age for vitamin D deficiency – which at the same time increases the risk of a severe course of Covid-19. From the age of 60, there is a decrease in vitamin D in the body. “This explains the high number of elderly people with insufficient vitamin D status,” the researchers explain. The risk of “Covid-19-related death” therefore also increases due to this factor in people over 60 years of age.
According to the study, the main risk groups also include pregnant women and children under five years of age. The researchers also explain people who only come into contact with little or no solar radiation, and “especially people with dark skin in Europe and the USA”. Meanwhile, however, a vitamin D deficiency is not greatest in the population of Europe. “While in Europe, for example, the deficits (unter 30 nmol / l) are between 20 and 60 percent in all age groups, 61 percent in Asia (Pakistan, India) and 86 percent in Iran, ”the researchers explain.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, correlations between vitamin D supply and diseases such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular or cancer diseases have been found in observational studies. These pre-existing diseases are also considered to be risk factors for a more severe course of infection with the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus. “So far, however, there is no evidence of causal relationships,” writes Germany‘s highest health authority on your website.
Study from Indonesia on vitamin D and coronavirus
The Dr. Jacobs Institute for Complementary Medical Research in Heidesheim has summarized two studies from Indonesia and the Philippines on the subject of Covid-19 and vitamin D. In Indonesia, the course of the disease and the vitamin D status of 780 Covid 19 patients were examined. According to the institute, there was a “dramatically increased risk of death” with a vitamin D deficiency. Almost all patients with a vitamin D deficiency of Covid-19 died, but only around 4 percent of the patients with optimal vitamin D levels.
The Philippine study examined 212 Covid-19 patients. The result: a life-threatening course of the disease with a low vitamin D value is 23 times more common. The institute comes to the conclusion that the studies show a strong connection, but no causality. Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure, vitamin D could be “the cheapest and so far best remedy for the course of severe disease”, they say in a press release.
Is a vitamin D deficiency one of the reasons for fatal coronavirus courses?
Expert views vitamin D studies critically
Compared to the Deutsche Welle (DW) Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the University Hospital Würzburg, criticized the studies heavily. “There are studies going on to check whether vitamin D helps with Covid-19 infection, but I personally don’t believe that this is really the case,” said the doctor.
The hope for the healing powers of the vitamin has hardly been confirmed so far. Many studies on the subject are observational studies that point to “mere correlations”. Fassnacht explained this to Deutsche Welle:
“Imagine two groups of 80 year olds. One group is vigorous, active and does sports. If you compare them to the other group in the nursing home, the difference in vitamin D levels will be dramatic. Life expectancy would also be extremely different. ” The vitamin D level is a good measure of how sick someone is, nothing more, says the doctor.
“I don’t want to rule out that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional dose of vitamin D,” he says. After all, this has been shown to be the case with a severe deficit. However, in view of the study situation, Fassnacht thinks little of preventive, comprehensive vitamin D administration.