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A vitamin D test should be a standard part of any care program for patients with pneumonia based on the findings of a recent study published in the journal Respirology. Researchers from the Universities of Waikato and Otago in New Zealand found that pneumonia patients with low levels of the nutrient are significantly more likely to die.
The investigators said that their findings make sense given the fact that vitamin D has been shown to play a crucial role in healthy immune system function. Maintaining high levels of the nutrient may be key to fighting off a stubborn infection like pneumonia.
For the study, the researchers administered vitamin D tests to 112 adults who were admitted to a local hospital for pneumonia. They found that those with the lowest levels of the nutrient were most likely to die, even after taking into consideration age, sex and severity of the disease. The researchers said that the next step will be to determine what can be done about the situation.
"We now need to investigate whether vitamin D supplements could be a useful addition to pneumonia treatment and whether using supplements could help to prevent or reduce the severity of pneumonia among high-risk populations," they wrote in their report.
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