February 5, 2021

Study exploring role of Vitamin D deficiency in COVID clinical outcomes reveals surprisingly results

A Wayne State University School of Medicine faculty member has published a study that disproves any link between Vitamin D and clinical outcomes in COVID-19.

Prateek Lohia, M.D.

Prateek Lohia, M.D., is an assistant professor of Internal Medicine and clinician-educator who led a study that found no significant association between recent Vitamin D levels and mortality, intensive care unit admission and the need for mechanical ventilation in COVID-19 patients who presented to the hospital.

“Some of the early literature was pointing toward the possible association of Vitamin D deficiency with worse outcomes in COVID-19 patients. However, our study did not find any such correlation, so we were a little surprised at first. But the emerging literature on Vitamin D and COVID-19 supports the findings of our study,” he said.

 “Exploring the link between Vitamin D and clinical outcomes in COVID-19” was published in the Jan. 6 issue of American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Low levels of Vitamin D has been associated with increased frequency and severity of respiratory tract infections in the past.

“Current literature linking clinical outcomes in COVID-19 with low Vitamin D is debatable. This study evaluated the role of Vitamin D in severe disease outcomes among COVID-19 patients,” he said.

The team conducted a retrospective cohort study of 2,001 adult patients with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis. Electronic medical records were screened to determine if the patient had a previously documented Vitamin D, 25-OH level within the past 12 months. Of the group, 270 patients met the inclusion criteria and were classified based on their Vitamin D levels into two groups as ≥ 20 ng/mL (patients with normal Vitamin D levels) and < 20 ng/mL (patients with low Vitamin D levels).

More than one-third of the patients had Vitamin D deficiency with levels less than 20ng/mL.

“We found no association of Vitamin D levels with mortality, the need for mechanical ventilation, ICU admission and thromboembolism in COVID-19,” Dr. Lohia said.

As a WSU clinician-educator, Dr. Lohia works with Internal Medicine residents and third- and fourth-year medical students and see patients at Detroit Receiving Hospital, Harper and Hutzel Hospital, and the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.

The co-authors for the study are Internal Medicine residents Paul Nguyen, D.O., and Neel Patel, D.O.; and Research Associate Shweta Kapur, M.S.

Another research team also led by Dr. Lohia recently published a study exploring clinical outcomes in patients with metabolic syndrome and COVID-19.

The team is now working on multiple COVID-19 studies, one involving patients with pre-existing respiratory diseases and another exploring the effect of statins.

“Additionally, we are currently working on a study looking at the clinical outcomes and characteristics of COVID-19 patients who developed cardiac arrest in the hospital,” Dr. Lohia said.