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Sunshine vitamin supplements could boost critically ill survival rates

3 commentsBy Nathan Gray , 04-Apr-2012
Last updated on 04-Apr-2012 at 15:55 GMT

Vitamin D supplementation could help to boost survival rates of critically ill patients in hospital intensive care units, suggest researchers.

The study – published in QJM: An International Journal of Medicine – demonstrates that low vitamin D levels are common among patients admitted to intensive care units.  The study found that patients who had a vitamin D deficiency lived an average of 8.9 days less than those who were sufficient in the vitamin – whilst levels of the sunshine vitamin were also found to correlate with levels of disease-fighting white blood cells.

As a result, the authors of the new study have now called for further research to assess whether the sunshine vitamin could help improve survival in critically ill hospital patients.

“The rationale behind the current investigation was to see if the higher morbidity and mortality rates attributed to vitamin D deficiency in the general population, and in the elderly population also affected extremely ill patients, with high mortality rates,” explained the researchers -who were led by Professor Howard Amital of Tel Aviv University, Israel.

“We observed longer survival times among vitamin D sufficient patients,” they added.

Amital said the results of his study suggest a need for further research into giving patients vitamin D, which could confirm that the vitamin will improve their survival outcomes.

“The rationale behind the current investigation was to see if the higher morbidity and mortality rates attributed to vitamin D deficiency in the general population, and in the elderly population also affected extremely ill patients, with high mortality rates,” explained the researchers.

Critical vitamin?

To measure the impact of vitamin D levels on the survival of critically ill patients, the researchers designed an observational study. Over the course of six months, 130 patients over the age of 18 admitted to an intensive care unit of a Tel Aviv University-affiliated hospital and requiring mechanical ventilation were admitted to the study.

Patients who had taken vitamin D supplements prior to admittance were excluded from the study population.

Upon admittance, patients were divided into two groups based on vitamin D concentration: those who had 20 nanograms or more of the vitamin — the amount defined as the National Institute of Health as sufficient — and those who were vitamin D deficient based on the same criteria. In total, 107 patients suffered from vitamin D deficiency.

Survival curves indicate that while patients with sufficient vitamin D survived an average of 24.2 days, those who were deemed to be deficient in vitamin D survived an average of only 15.3 days — meaning patients with sufficient vitamin D levels survived an average of 8.9 days longer.

Patients with sufficient vitamin D levels were also found to have a higher white blood cell counts.

Amital said the findings ‘merit further investigation’, adding that the effects of vitamin D supplementation in critically ill patients should be further assessed.

“Our results provide important background information to perform larger scale, intervention-based trials of adjunctive vitamin D therapy,” said the researchers.

Source: QJM: An International Journal of Medicine
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcs014
“Vitamin D deficiency is associated with poor outcomes and increased mortality in severely ill patients”
Authors: Y. Arnson, I. Gringauz, D. Itzhaky, H. Amital

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3 comments (Comments are now closed)

consulting a doctor about vitamin supplements

Normally DO NOTask a doctor (MD) for advice about vitamins and nutrition supplements. They have very little to no training in the area of nutrition.
Asking a doctor about vitamin supplements is like asking an electrician about a plumbing problem. Yes they both help build the house but one is very limited in their knowledge about the other.
Doctors deal with sickness, medicine, surgery and controlling health problems. NUTRITIONIST deal with wellness, nutrition, curing, and prevention of diseases.

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Posted by Carl Chapman
07 May 2012 | 12h53

Benefits of Vitamin Supplements

Vitamins are essential components of our body which have various roles such as maintaining a healthy body, eliminating diseases and infections and improving health of various organs of the body. This is why we have to be very aware of the foods we consume every day, being health conscious is not just eating all the healthy foods we know but being knowledgeable about the nutrients of the foods we consume regularly.

It is also helpful to consume vitamin supplements to properly balance our body’s nutrition because having a well balanced diet is a healthy way to maintain a disease free body. Good to know that there are cheap vitamin supplements available in the drugstores and even online stores however I suggest that you have to consult to your doctor for the best vitamin supplements for you. Thank you for sharing this healthy content, keep it up!

Mark Cruz

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Posted by Mark Cruz
11 April 2012 | 17h59

Importance of Vitamin

Every day we consume foods which we think nutritious enough for our body’s health. However, we cannot really ensure that we are getting the right amount of nutrients to the foods we eat regularly. That is why medical experts formulated vitamin supplements to give our body the enough nutrition it needs even if we have lack of nutrition.
We have to always keep in mind that lack of vitamins could lead to certain diseases which can be mild or fatal health condition. In addition, we also need to include regular exercise and healthy diet while taking vitamin supplements regularly to maintain a healthy body.

Thank you for sharing this healthy information, keep it up and good luck!

Mark Cruz

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Posted by Mark Cruz
09 April 2012 | 05h46

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