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Low vitamin D levels could mean longer respiratory care in the ICU, study

Posted:  Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Studies have attributed numerous benefits to vitamin D, including its role in minimising respiratory symptoms. Now, a new cohort study has found that plasma 25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels upon admission to the surgical intensive care unit (ICU) were inversely associated with the need for mechanical ventilation.

Published in the Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, the study enrolled 94 critically ill surgical patients who required 48 hours or more of mechanical ventilation and survived at least 24 hours after stoppage of respiratory support.

The researchers found that for every 10 ng/mL increase in 25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels, there was a 34% reduction in the risk of requiring a longer duration of ventilator support. The average vitamin D level was 16 ng/mL, whereas the average time on respiratory support was 4 days.

Speaking about the study, the researchers said, “Our results suggest that vitamin D may be a modifiable risk for prolonged duration of mechanical ventilation in surgical ICU patients. We hypothesise that ideal 25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels are associated with optimal musculoskeletal health, effective regulation of innate as well as adaptive immunity as well as expression of endogenous antimicrobial peptides.”

The observational nature of the study warrants further clinical trials to validate these findings. However, it would be safe to say that people should ensure they are not low or deficient in this multi-beneficial vitamin.

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