Vitamin D Levels Linked to Mortality in Patients With Pneumonia

June 27, 2011 at 11:04 pm | Posted in News | Leave a comment
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Vitamin D regulates the production of two specific antimicrobial peptides (cathelicidin and beta-defensin-2), which play an important role in the innate immune response to infection. A perspective study in patients with community-acquired pneumonia indicated an increased 30-day mortality in patients with severe 25-hydroxyviatmin D deficiency compared with those patients with sufficient vitamin D levels.  Leong Leow, MD, from the Waikato Hospital in Hamilton, New Zealand, and colleagues reported their findings in the May issue of Respirology.

Associations between mortality and levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, cathelicidin and beta-defensin-2 were investigated in a prospective cohort of 112 patients admitted with community acquired pneumonia during winter.

The authors of this study hypothesized that because the known antimicrobial effects of vitamin D, blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D might be related to disease severity and outcomes in hospitalized patients with community-acquired pneumonia.  Dr. Leow and colleagues concluded that “These observations raise the possibility that vitamin D supplements and cathelicidin could have a therapeutic role in acute infections”.

Dr Flores Comments:

It is very clear that Vitamin D is a Key factor in maintaining our health. Research is proving and finding more and more benefits derived from this vitamin: antimicrobial effects, anticancer effects, musculo-sketal benefits with proper doses, etc….etc.
I usually test every patient for vit D levels with an electrodermal screen (vega testing) and I can safely say that 90% of them are deficient in this nutrient. Some of my collegues who don’t do the cost effective vega test often routinely send patients to the lab for a blood level of Vit D. Many of them had stopped doing it because almost every one came back with low levels, so the strategy is to put everyone in vit D, especially during winter and fall seasons when the sun light required for the conversion of this vitamin is almost close to none here in the Vancouver area.
The interesting demographics of the epidemiology of certain diseases, such as: Multiple sclerosis, certain type of cancers, etc. are endemic only in areas of the hemisphere where the sunlight is not consistently high many months of the year. And this is making the scientists look more closely into the correlations and common denominators like Vit D deficiency.
When we look at the typical symptoms of vit D deficiency: muscle pain, irritability, joint pain, etc. I see lots of people that could fall into this category…. And I have experienced that lots of these patients improve their symptoms just by taking vit D regularly in doses between 1000 to 5000 IU. I find great amusement in the fact that our dietary daily intake recommended by our health authorites had been bumped up …. from 400IU to 800IU per day! not a great dose increase but never the less the evidence is overwhelming to avoid this increase.
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