Vitamin D Deficiency Tied to an Increased Risk of COVID-19 Hospitalisation

Pavankumar Kamat


July 05, 2021


  • Vitamin D deficiency was associated with an increased risk of severe SARS-CoV-2 infection requiring hospital admission.

  • However, no association was observed between vitamin D deficiency and excess mortality in COVID-19.

Why this matters

  • Findings highlight urgent action to address the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency that increases COVID-19-related morbidity.

Study design

  • A retrospective case-control study included 79,602 participants with results of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25[OH]D) between April 2019 and January 2021.

  • Of these, 58,368 participants were recruited to the primary cohort and 21,234  to the validation cohort.

  • Vitamin D levels were classified as deficiency (<25 nmoL/L) and insufficiency (25-50 nmoL/L).

  • Funding: None.

Key results

  • In the primary cohort:

    • Overall, 1036 (1.8%) participants were hospitalised with COVID-19, of whom 375 (36.2%) died.

    • Median serum 25(OH)D level was 50.0 (interquartile range [IQR], 34.2-66.9] nmoL/L in non-hospitalised patients vs 35.0 (IQR, 21.0-57.0) nmoL/L in hospitalised patients (P<.005).

  • In the validation cohort:

    • Overall, 772 (3.6%) participants were hospitalised with COVID-19, of whom 295 (38.2%) died.

    • Median serum 25(OH)D level was 47.1 (IQR, 31.8-64.7) nmoL/L in non-hospitalised patients vs 33.0 (IQR, 19.4-54.1) nmoL/L in hospitalised patients (P<.005).

  • Low vitamin D level (25[OH]D <50 nmol/L) was associated with increased odds of hospitalisation with COVID-19 in both (OR; 95% CI):

    • primary cohort (2.22; 1.93-2.53; P<.005); and

    • validation cohort (2.16; 1.83-2.54; P<.005).

  • There was no association between low vitamin D levels and in-patient hospital mortality from COVID-19 in either cohort.


  • Retrospective design.


Jude EB, Ling SF, Allcock R, Yeap BXY, Pappachan JM. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with higher hospitalisation risk from COVID-19: a retrospective case-control study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2021 Jun 17 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgab439. PMID: 34139758.  View abstract 

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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