Lack of vitamin D increases risk of severe COVID, according to study

Laurel Duggan, DNCF

Vitamin D deficiency was linked to worse health outcomes for COVID-19 patients, including higher risk of death, a new study found.

Israeli scientists from Bar-Ilan University and the Galilee Medical Center found a strong connection between vitamin D deficiencies and negative COVID-19 outcomes. The researchers were able to predict COVID-19 patients’ vitamin D status accurately based on the severity of the disease in a patient, according to the Feb. 3 study.

Patients with pre-infection vitamin D deficiency were 14 times more likely to have severe or critical COVID-19 symptoms. While worse COVID-19 outcomes and lower vitamin D levels were both associated with old age, researchers also found that low levels of the nutrient were still linked to worsened health outcomes in patients across all age groups.


Diet was a driving indicator of vitamin D levels, noting that Israeli Arabs traditionally ate diets low in meat and fish and had lower levels of the nutrient, according to the study.  The demographic’s higher rate of critical COVID-19 cases may also be linked to delayed medical attention seeking, according to the researchers.

Vitamin D is also known to strengthen bone and muscle health which, according to the researchers, is part of a healthy response to viral infections. The nutrient was also linked to a lower risk of COVID-19 infection overall in a University of Chicago study.

In addition to vitamin D deficiency, studies have found that COVID-19 cases are more severe in patients with comorbidities, particularly obesity.

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