Researchers in a Belgian hospital have found a "clear" link between vitamin D deficiency and serious cases of Covid-19.
A study of 186 coronavirus patients at the AZ Delta general hospital in Roeselare, West Flanders, revealed that a lack of sufficient vitamin D on admission can be linked to increased risk of severity and death from a Covid-19 infection.
"This is independent of conditions related to vitamin D such as chronic lung disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes," the hospital said in a short online statement.
The biologists leading the study said that results which are set to be published on 20 November will further show that almost half of a pool of 16,274 patients were vitamin D deficient and that "male Covid-19 patients, in particular, showed severe vitamin D deficiencies."
Vitamin D stimulates the absorption of nutrients such as calcium and magnesium and strengthens and regulates the immune system.
Previous studies on its immune properties have found that vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased risk of severity of other viral infections, such as HIV.
Biologists leading the study said that further data was needed in order to establish whether there was a direct causal relationship, saying that this would take the form of a "major study" in which researchers would observe if vitamin D can prevent a serious Covid-19 infection.
"In the meantime, the clinical biologists of AZ Delta are drawing attention to the avoidance of vitamin D deficiencies as prevention against severe COVID-19," they said.
The study was accepted for publication in the American Journal of Clinical Pathology.
The Brussels Times