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Several factors increase the risk of death due to COVID-19, including hypertension, obesity, male sex, advanced age, living at a northern latitude, and coagulopathy. Interestingly, poor vitamin D status is associated with all of these factors. Findings from a small, retrospective study revealed that vitamin D deficiency was a common feature among the majority of COVID-19 patients with severe outcomes.
The study involved COVID-19 patients treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) at a tertiary care academic medical center in the United States. Of 20 COVID-19 patients for whom vitamin D levels were available, 13 were treated in the ICU. Of those, 11 (nearly 85 percent) were vitamin D deficient. All of the ICU patients under the age of 75 were vitamin D deficient.
The authors of the study noted that COVID-19-related death and vitamin D deficiency are more common among African Americans. They also suggested that vitamin D deficiency contributes to the severity of COVID-19 outcomes via impairment of the immune system and prothrombotic effects.
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