Vitamin D and Zinc Deficiency in Long COVID: A Clinical Study from Taiwan

A study published in the Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology explores the relationship between vitamin D and zinc deficiency and their impact on patients suffering from long COVID.

Here’s a detailed summary:

Objective and Methods: The study aimed to assess whether monitoring and treating deficiencies in vitamin D and zinc could benefit COVID-19 patients, potentially reducing long COVID risks. It involved 55 patients, analyzing the interval between their COVID-19 diagnosis and their visit to a pulmonary department for prolonged symptoms. Laboratory tests measured zinc levels using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and vitamin D levels through chemiluminescence immunoassay.

Key Findings:

  1. Deficiency Rates: Among the participants, 29.1% had vitamin D deficiency, and 27.3% had zinc deficiency. The study found a positive correlation between vitamin D and zinc concentrations.
  2. Impact on Inflammation and Recovery: Zinc deficiency was associated with acute and persistent inflammation, indicated by higher fibrinogen levels in those with deficient zinc compared to those with sufficient levels. Vitamin D deficiency was linked to delayed recovery in long COVID syndrome.
  3. Duration of Long COVID Symptoms: On average, patients underwent long COVID treatment for about 31.7 days. Zinc and vitamin D deficiencies significantly correlated with prolonged symptoms.
  4. Demographic Differences: Patients with vitamin D deficiency were significantly younger than those without deficiency. This aligns with other studies indicating a higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among younger individuals, especially those in higher education levels and certain occupations.

Discussion:

  • The study is a first in clinically detecting zinc concentrations in patients with both acute and prolonged COVID symptoms. A considerable percentage of patients exhibited zinc deficiency.
  • Patients with vitamin D deficiency had a longer disease duration than those without, and younger patients with vitamin D deficiency experienced longer disease durations compared to older patients.
  • The study suggests that micronutrient deficiency, particularly of vitamin D and zinc, may contribute to dysregulated host responses in long COVID patients.

Conclusion: The research concludes that zinc deficiency correlates with acute and persistent inflammation, while vitamin D deficiency is associated with delayed recovery in long COVID syndrome. Addressing these deficiencies could be crucial in alleviating the medical burden of long COVID​​​​.

This study offers valuable insights into the potential role of micronutrient management in long COVID treatment strategies, highlighting the importance of monitoring and addressing vitamin D and zinc deficiencies in these patients.

Read More: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0946672X23001542

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