A new study led Vita-Salute San Raffaele University and the IRCCS San Rafael Hospital In Milan, low levels of vitamin D increase the risk of exposure Long covid – A condition in which people previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 experience different symptoms more than three months after their initial infection. These findings suggest that people should check their vitamin D levels after covid infections.
Recent studies have shown that prolonged covid – a still poorly understood condition characterized by a series of post-covid-19 symptoms including fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain, joint pain, cognitive problems, sleep disturbances, depression, anxiety and fever – was found in 50 people who had previously been hospitalized for covid-19. It affects up to 70 percent of patients.
Although low vitamin D levels are known to be associated with hospitalizations for Covid-19 patients – such as intubation, mechanical ventilation, and death – its role in VVID has not yet been well evaluated.
The experts examined 100 patients aged 51-71, both with and without chronic Covid. None of these patients had previous bone-related conditions, and were not admitted to intensive care units (ICUs). They found low vitamin D levels in people with long-term covid by measuring their vitamin D levels at first hospital admission and six months after discharge.
Also, vitamin D levels are low in people who experience symptoms called “brain fog,” such as confusion, forgetfulness, or poor concentration.
“Previous studies have been inconclusive regarding the role of vitamin D in chronic Covid,” said senior author Andrea Giustina, an expert in endocrine and metabolic sciences at Vita-Salut San Rafael University.
“The highly controlled nature of our study will help us better understand the role of vitamin D deficiency in long-term covid and confirm whether there is a link between vitamin D deficiency and long-term covid.”
In future research, the scientists aim to investigate whether vitamin D supplements can reduce the long-term risk of Covid.
“Our study shows that Covid-19 patients with low vitamin D levels are more likely to have prolonged VID, but it is not yet known whether vitamin D supplements can improve symptoms or completely reduce this risk,” Justina said.
The study was published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism And it will be presented on 25Th European Congress of Endocrinology in Istanbul (May 13-16, 2023).
More about long covid
Long covid, also known as post-acute SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC), refers to a condition in which individuals develop persistent symptoms or new symptoms that persist beyond the acute phase of the covid-19 infection.
While most people recover from Covid-19 within a few weeks, some individuals continue to experience various physical, mental and neurological symptoms for several weeks or months. Specific symptoms and their severity can vary widely between individuals.
Common symptoms of long-term covid include:
Persistent and intense tiredness or fatigue, even after slight physical or mental exertion.
Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath even with simple activities.
Often referred to as “brain fog,” individuals may experience problems with memory, concentration, or thinking.
Muscle and joint pain
Persistent or persistent pain in muscles, joints, or other parts of the body.
Some individuals may experience chest discomfort or pain, which may be sharp or dull.
Frequent or chronic headaches that can be severe and persistent.
Insomnia, trouble falling asleep, trouble falling asleep, or trouble getting restful sleep.
Anxiety and depression
Anxiety, depression or mood changes.
Loss of taste and smell
Delayed or repeated loss or alteration of sense of taste or smell.
People with prolonged covid may experience palpitations, dizziness, gastrointestinal problems, skin problems or other persistent symptoms.
The exact cause of long-term covid is still not fully understood and can affect people regardless of the severity of the initial covid-19 infection. Some theories suggest that it may be due to persistent inflammation, immune system disorders or the presence of virus residues in the body.
Long-term covid significantly affects a person’s quality of life, making it challenging to perform daily activities, return to work or school, and participate in physical or social activities. The disease can affect people of all ages, including those who initially had mild or symptomatic cases of Covid-19.
Managing prolonged covid requires a comprehensive and multi-pronged approach. Treatment options may include medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy, cognitive rehabilitation, psychological support, and lifestyle modifications.
Why is vitamin D important?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining overall health and well-being.
Here are some key reasons why vitamin D is important.
One of the main functions of vitamin D is to facilitate the absorption and use of calcium and phosphorus in the body. These minerals are essential for the growth and maintenance of strong and healthy bones.
Adequate levels of vitamin D help prevent diseases such as rickets in children and osteomalacia or osteoporosis in adults, which are characterized by weak bones.
Vitamin D helps regulate calcium levels in the blood, allowing it to be absorbed in the intestines and reducing excretion in the kidneys. This balance is important for maintaining proper muscle function, nerve signaling and good bone strength.
Vitamin D has immunosuppressive properties, meaning it helps the immune system control pathogens and inflammation. It plays a role in innate and adaptive immunity by influencing the production and activity of various immune cells.
Adequate levels are associated with reduced risk of respiratory infections, autoimmune diseases, and certain types of cancer.
Emotions and mental health
Vitamin D receptors are found in areas of the brain involved in mood regulation. Research suggests that maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D is beneficial for mental health and the prevention of conditions such as depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and cognitive decline.
Some studies show that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Adequate levels of vitamin D help maintain healthy blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and support overall cardiovascular function.
Vitamin D plays a role in muscle function and strength. Adequate levels of vitamin D are important for optimal muscle performance, coordination, and balance, which can reduce the risk of falls and fractures, especially in older adults.
Vitamin D affects the expression of many genes involved in various physiological processes, including cell growth, differentiation and apoptosis (cell death). Although more research is needed in this area, it is believed that it may have an effect on the prevention or control of some types of cancer.
The main source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight, as it is synthesized when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. It can also be found in dietary sources such as fatty fish (eg salmon, mackerel), fortified dairy products, eggs and some mushrooms.
Vitamin D supplements may be recommended by health care professionals to ensure adequate levels are maintained in the event of a deficiency. However, taking too much vitamin D can be harmful, so it’s important to consult a health care provider for guidance on supplementation.
It should be noted that individual vitamin D needs may vary based on age, skin color, geographic location, season, and overall health. Regular monitoring of vitamin D levels and discussion with health professionals can help ensure optimal vitamin D status.
as if Andre Ionescu, Earth.com Staff Secretary
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