Hannover. The University of Hohenheim establishes a possible link 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 Covid-19 course 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 are numerous indications that various non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and the metabolic syndrome are associated with low vitamin D plasma levels. “These comorbidities, along with the often accompanying vitamin D deficiency, increase the risk of serious Covid 19 events,” the report said.
Vitamin D deficiency as a signal in high-risk patients
Based on an analysis of 30 studies with 53,000 Covid-19 patients, the researchers blamed concomitant diseases such as chronic kidney disease and advanced age for vitamin D deficiency – which also increases the risk of severe Covid-19 course. This shows a decrease in vitamin D in the body from the age of 60. “This explains the high number of older people with insufficient vitamin D status,” the researchers explain. The risk of “Covid 19-related death” therefore 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 the age of five. The researchers also explain people who come into contact with little or no sunlight and “especially people with dark skin in Europe and the USA”. Meanwhile, a vitamin D deficiency is not the 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, compared to 61 percent in Asia (Pakistan, India) and 86 percent in Iran, ”the researchers explain.
According to the Robert Koch Institute, connections between vitamin D supply and diseases such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular or cancerous diseases have been found in observational studies in recent years. These previous illnesses are also considered 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 top health authority on his homepage.
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” from a vitamin D deficiency. Almost all patients with vitamin D deficiency died of Covid-19, but only around four 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 was 23 times more common. The institute comes to the conclusion that the studies, although strongly related, would not yet prove causality. Nevertheless, as a precaution, vitamin D could “be the cheapest and best remedy for serious illnesses,” it says in a press release.
Is vitamin D deficiency one of the reasons for fatal coronavirus courses?
Expert is critical of vitamin D studies
Opposite the Deutsche Welle (DW) Martin Fassnacht, head of endocrinology at the Würzburg University Hospital, criticized the studies strongly. “Studies are ongoing to determine whether vitamin D helps covid-19 infection, but I personally don’t believe that it really is,” said the doctor.
The hope of the healing powers of the vitamin has so far hardly been confirmed. Many studies on the subject are observational studies that indicate “mere correlations”. Fassnacht explained this to Deutsche Welle as follows:
”Imagine two groups of 80 year olds. One group is active, active and does sports. If you compare that 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, the doctor points out.
“I don’t want to rule out the fact that there are actually subgroups of people who benefit from an additional vitamin D dose,” he says. After all, this has been proven to be the case with a serious deficit. However, Fassnacht does not think much of preventive, comprehensive vitamin D doses given the study situation.