Micronutrient Status of Critically Ill Patients with COVID-19 Pneumonia

Sander Rozemeijer*, Henrike M. Hamer, Annemieke C. Heijboer, Robert de Jonge, Connie R. Jimenez, Nicole P. Juffermans, Romein W.G. Dujardin, Armand R.J. Girbes, Angélique M.E. de Man

*Corresponding author for this work

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Micronutrient deficiencies can develop in critically ill patients, arising from factors such as decreased intake, increased losses, drug interactions, and hypermetabolism. These deficiencies may compromise important immune functions, with potential implications for patient outcomes. Alternatively, micronutrient blood levels may become low due to inflammation-driven redistribution rather than consumption. This explorative pilot study investigates blood micronutrient concentrations during the first three weeks of ICU stay in critically ill COVID-19 patients and evaluates the impact of additional micronutrient administration. Moreover, associations between inflammation, disease severity, and micronutrient status were explored. We measured weekly concentrations of vitamins A, B6, D, and E; iron; zinc; copper; selenium; and CRP as a marker of inflammation state and the SOFA score indicating disease severity in 20 critically ill COVID-19 patients during three weeks of ICU stay. Half of the patients received additional (intravenous) micronutrient administration. Data were analyzed with linear mixed models and Pearson’s correlation coefficient. High deficiency rates of vitamins A, B6, and D; zinc; and selenium (50–100%) were found at ICU admission, along with low iron status. After three weeks, vitamins B6 and D deficiencies persisted, and iron status remained low. Plasma levels of vitamins A and E, zinc, and selenium improved. No significant differences in micronutrient levels were found between patient groups. Negative correlations were identified between the CRP level and levels of vitamins A and E, iron, transferrin, zinc, and selenium. SOFA scores negatively correlated with vitamin D and selenium levels. Our findings reveal high micronutrient deficiency rates at ICU admission. Additional micronutrient administration did not enhance levels or expedite their increase. Spontaneous increases in vitamins A and E, zinc, and selenium levels were associated with inflammation resolution, suggesting that observed low levels may be attributed, at least in part, to redistribution rather than true deficiencies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number385
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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