The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Vitamin D deficiency and the risk of dying from pneumonia

    Vitamin D plays a role in the immune response to infection.

    Researchers in New Zealand studied whether vitamin D deficiency was associated with a lower immune response and worse outcomes in patients admitted to the hospital with community-acquired pneumonia.

    First, the details.

    • Associations between mortality and blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, cathelicidin, and beta-defensin-2 were investigated in 112 patients admitted with community acquired pneumonia during winter.
      • Cathelicidins are proteins that are regulated by vitamin D and act to protect against infection.
      • Beta defensins, also regulated by vitamin D, act to counteract bacterial adherence and invasion through the skin.

    And, the results.

    • Severe vitamin D deficiency (less than 30 nmol/L) was common in this population (15%).
    • Those with severe deficiency experienced a significantly higher 30-day mortality vs patients with sufficient vitamin D (greater than 50 nmol/L).
    • These associations were not explained by differences in age, comorbidities, or the severity of the acute illness.
    • Neither cathelicidin nor beta-defensin-2 levels predicted mortality.
    • Neither cathelicidin nor beta-defensin-2 levels correlated with 25-hydroxyvitamin D.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “25-hydroxyvitamin D deficiency is associated with increased mortality in patients admitted to hospitals with community acquired pneumonia during winter.”

    And, the risk isn’t limited to mortality.

    Researchers at the University of Saskatchewan, in Canada, reported that the risk of admission to pediatric intensive care with acute lower respiratory infection is greater among those who are vitamin D deficient.

    More reasons to test for and treat vitamin D deficiency.

    5/11/11 18:27 JR

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