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In this study, 130 critically ill people were assessed for vitamin D levels and time until death. The majority of the participants were admitted to the intensive care unit or hospital with serious infections. Vitamin D levels were measured at the time of admission using a commonly used test (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D]).
The average vitamin D level among the participants was very low (14 ng/ml), indicating a vitamin D deficiency. Of the 44% of the participants who died within 60 days of hospitalization, those with low vitamin D levels (below 20 ng/ml) died an average of 9 days sooner than those with higher vitamin D levels (above 20 ng/ml) .
Prior studies suggest that vitamin D insufficiency may be a risk factor for sepsis (serious widespread infection), and the authors of this study make the case that vitamin D supplementation may possibly help prevent and/or treat people with serious infection. They comment, “Our results provide important background information to perform larger scale, intervention-based trials of adjunctive [supplemental] vitamin D therapy in a variety of clinical settings, including further studies in the management of human sepsis syndrome and other critical illnesses.”
Vitamin D helps every system in our body work properly including our immune and cardiovascular systems and is also important for sugar (glucose) metabolism and bone health. It’s no wonder then that increasing research reveals the importance of getting your D:
Too little D or too much vitamin D is not good for your health. Although experts do not agree on exactly how much vitamin D a person needs to prevent disease and maintain health, the recommended daily allowance for most adults was recently increased to 600 IU per day and 800 IU per day for adults over age 70. Other people may need more and some need less. Talk with a knowledgeable doctor about the amount that is right for you and the risks and benefits of supplementation.
(Q J Med 2012;doi:10.1093/qjmed/hcs014)