Australian scientists have noted an inverse correlation between the condition of very sick patients and their levels of vitamin D.
In other words, the sickest patients in the intensive care unit analyzed by researchers from Sydneys Garvan Institute of Medical Research also had the lowest levels of vitamin D.
In fact, among the 42 patients studied there were three deaths, and the deceased had the lowest levels of vitamin D in the cohort.
Dr. Paul Lee, one of the researchers in the study, says vitamin D has been linked to sugar control, heart function, gut integrity, immunity and defense against infection.
“Patients in ICU suffer from different degrees of inflammation, infection, heart dysfunction, diarrhea and metabolic deregulation, so vitamin D deficiency may play a role in each of these common ICU conditions,” he adds.
The scientists speculate that when we are very sick, the body draws upon any vitamin D available to function properly, and so may need extra supplementation to maintain organ function during critical illness.
Moreover, bedridden patients are at an increased risk of bone loss and osteoporosis, and nutritional supplements containing vitamin D, which is safe even at high doses and inexpensive, may be a good idea anyway, they stress.