Vitamin D and Lung Outcomes in Elderly COVID-19 Patients

Nutrients. 2021 Feb 24;13(3):717. doi: 10.3390/nu13030717.


Background and aim: Vitamin D deficiency is frequently reported in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. The aim of this study was to correlate the 25OH-Vitamin D serum concentrations with clinical parameters of lung involvement, in elderly patients hospitalized for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Methods: Sixty-five consecutive COVID-19 patients (mean age 76 ± 13 years) and sixty-five sex- and age-matched control subjects (CNT) were analyzed. The following clinical parameters, including comorbidities, were collected at admission: type of pulmonary involvement, respiratory parameters (PaO2, SO2, PaCO2, PaO2/FiO2), laboratory parameters (including 25OH-vitamin D, D-dimer, C-reactive protein). Results: Significantly lower vitamin D serum levels were found in COVID-19 patients than in CNT (median 7.9 vs 16.3 ng/mL, p = 0.001). Interestingly, a statistically significant positive correlation was observed between vitamin D serum levels and PaO2 (p = 0.03), SO2 (p = 0.05), PaO2/FiO2 (p = 0.02), while a statistically significant negative correlation was found between vitamin D serum levels and D-dimer (p = 0.04), C-reactive protein (p = 0.04) and percentage of O2 in a venturi mask (p = 0.04). A negative correlation was also observed between vitamin D serum levels and severity of radiologic pulmonary involvement, evaluated by computed tomography: in particular, vitamin D was found significantly lower in COVID-19 patients with either multiple lung consolidations (p = 0.0001) or diffuse/severe interstitial lung involvement than in those with mild involvement (p = 0.05). Finally, significantly lower vitamin D serum levels were found in the elderly COVID-19 patients who died during hospitalization, compared to those who survived (median 3.0 vs 8.4 ng/mL, p = 0.046). Conclusions: This study confirms that 25OH-vitamin D serum deficiency is associated with more severe lung involvement, longer disease duration and risk of death, in elderly COVID-19 patients. The detection of low vitamin D levels also in younger COVID-19 patients with less comorbidities further suggests vitamin D deficiency as crucial risk factor at any age.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Vitamin D; disease severity; lung involvement.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19* / blood
  • COVID-19* / diagnostic imaging
  • COVID-19* / mortality
  • COVID-19* / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung* / diagnostic imaging
  • Lung* / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2 / metabolism*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*
  • Vitamin D / analogs & derivatives*
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / diagnostic imaging
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / mortality
  • Vitamin D Deficiency* / physiopathology


  • Vitamin D
  • 25-hydroxyvitamin D