A vitamin that helps the critically ill

Tel Aviv: Vitamin D, which the body synthesises with the help of sunlight, has an important bearing on the functioning of our auto-immune system, says a study.

Howard Amital, professor at the Tel Aviv University`s (TAU) Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sheba Medical Centre, has discovered that the vitamin may also improve the well being of patients in intensive care.

In a six-month study, Amital and his colleagues found that patients with vitamin D deficiency lived an average of 8.9 days less than those who were found to have sufficient vitamin D. Vitamin D levels also co-related with the level of white blood cells which fight disease.

The study demonstrated that further research will only validate the efficacy of vitamin D in improving the patient`s survival outcomes, the journal QJM: An International Journal of Medicine reported.

To measure the impact of vitamin D levels on the survival of critically ill patients, the researchers designed an observational study, said a university statement.

Over six months, 130 patients over 18 years of age who were admitted to an intensive care unit of a TAU-affiliated hospital and requiring mechanical ventilation, were studied. Patients who had taken vitamin D supplements prior to admittance were excluded from the study population.

Findings 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. They were also found to have a better white blood count.


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