• Researchers in Spain have provided an intriguing coronavirus update, in the form of a study that found a strong likelihood that Vitamin D deficiencies might explain why so many people were hospitalized with the coronavirus there over a particular period of time.
  • The research did not establish a link between the vitamin deficiency and severity of the coronavirus case, however.
  • More research is still needed to determine the precise nature of the interplay between Vitamin D and the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Slowly but surely, scientists and researchers are starting to understand at least some of the most mysterious aspects of the COVID-19 coronavirus — like why some people develop such a severe infection, while the virus seems to miss other people entirely.

One of the newest coronavirus updates we have comes in the form of a new study from researchers in Spain, specifically the University Hospital Marques de Valdecilla in Santander which analyzed patients over a period of time early on in the pandemic to look for similarities. Intriguingly, more than 80% of a group of 216 COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital between March 10 and March 31 were found to have a vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D, a hormone produced by the kidneys, has an impact on how the body’s immune system functions and also controls the concentration of blood calcium. The authors of this study decided to take a closer look at these patients’ levels of the nutrient as a result of a growing assumption that it seems to play a role in whether or not a person develops a COVID-19 infection.

Among the study’s findings, 82% of the patients with a severe enough coronavirus infection that they needed to be taken to the hospital were found to be Vitamin D deficient. Additionally, Vitamin D levels in these coronavirus patients were found to be “especially lower” in men compared to women.

Dr. Jose Hernandez, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of neurophysiology at the University of Cantabria in Spain, said there are a variety of co-morbidities as well as overall lifestyle choices that may explain why men seemed to have more of the problem here than women. In an email to a Canadian news outlet, Hernandez added that: “There are numerous pieces of evidence in the literature that support the beneficial effect of Vitamin D on the immune system, especially regarding protection against infections, including viral infections.” Moreover, a deficiency of Vitamin D has also been linked to such problems as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

One important conclusion that the researchers in Spain were not able to draw from these findings has to do with the severity of a COVID-19 infection. In other words, while the data seemed to suggest Vitamin D deficiencies could explain an increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations, there was no correlation found between the vitamin level and severity of the disease.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.