Vitamin D deficiency is linked to an increased risk of infection in neurosurgical intensive care unit patients, according to new research that backs supplementation to improve immune status and fight off infection.
The study, published in Neural Regeneration Research, measured levels of the sunshine vitamin in a small number of patients from a neurosurgical intensive care unit and investigated the possible relationships between vitamin D status and other factors such as infection and length of intensive care unit admission.
“Vitamin D deficiency in neurosurgical intensive care unit patients is an important issue,” said the researchers – led by Je Hoon Jeong from Soon Chun Hyang University Bucheon Hospital in South Korea.
“In this study, we found that vitamin D deficiency is linked to immunological status,” they explained – revealing that vitamin D status was linked to blood levels of immune cells and was also associated with the length of stay in hospital.
“As such, continuous monitoring and checking of vitamin D levels is very important in patients admitted to the neurosurgical intensive care unit,” said the authors – who suggested that supplementation with vitamin D “can help improve the immunological status of patients in the neurosurgical intensive care unit.”
Hoon Jeong and colleagues measured serum levels of vitamin D in 15 patients with clinically suspected infection and 10 patients with confirmed infection, who came from neurosurgical intensive care unit.
The team found that serum level of 25-hydroxyvitamin D - the primary circulating form of vitamin D - was significantly decreased in patients with suspected or confirmed infection after a 2-week neurosurgical intensive care unit hospitalization, while serum level of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D - the active form of vitamin D - was significantly decreased in patients after a 4-week neurosurgical intensive care unit hospitalization.
Analysis also revealed that white blood cell count and neutrophil percentage showed a tendency to increase, while vitamin D levels were simultaneously decreasing, said the authors.
“Vitamin D deficiency was present in neurosurgical intensive care unit patients and was more severe in cases of long-term hospitalization,” the team added.
“Vitamin D deficiency also correlated with long-term intensive care unit hospitalization, increasing the infectious disease rate in our research.”
Source: Neural Regeneration Research
Volume 8, Issue 16, doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1673-5374.2013.16.010
“Evaluation of vitamin D level in patients from neurosurgical intensive care unit”
Authors: Ho Jun Yi, Je Hoon Jeong, Eun-Sun Jin, et al