Updated: May 1, 2021
Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to reduce inflammation in other respiratory diseases, but there have been few studies on the function of vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19.
According to a press release, new study shows that hospitalised COVID-19 patients with insufficient vitamin D levels could have a lower chance of dying or needing artificial ventilation if they consume at least 120000 units of vitamin D supplementation monthly.
Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to reduce inflammation in other respiratory diseases, but the researchers noted that there have been few studies on the effect of vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19. According to the press release, a report released last fall in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism showed that more than 80% of 200 COVID-19 patients were positive for the virus in a hospital in Spain had vitamin D deficiency.
The aim of the current research, according to the authors, was to see whether taking vitamin D supplements before being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 resulted in less serious disease.
In a press release, co-author Sweta Chekuri, MD, said, "Given how widespread vitamin D deficiency is in the world and the United States, we agree that this study is highly important right now."
The researchers looked at 124 adult patients with low vitamin D levels who had their levels checked up to 90 days before they were admitted to COVID-19. Patients who got at least 1000 units of vitamin D weekly were compared to those who did not receive supplements to see whether they were mechanically ventilated or died during their stay.
According to the study, they found that patients who were supplemented were less likely to be mechanically ventilated or to die following admission, although the finding was not statistically significant. Specifically, 37.5% of patients died or were mechanically ventilated compared to 33.3% of those who were supplemented. The investigators also found that more than half of those who should have been supplemented were not.
“Though we weren’t able to show a definitive link to severe COVID-19, it is clear that patients with low vitamin D should receive supplementation not only for bone health, but also for stronger protection against severe COVID-19,” said study co-author Corinne Levitus, DO, in the press release. “We hope this research will encourage clinicians to discuss adding this supplement with their patients who have low vitamin D, as this may reduce the odds of people developing severe COVID-19.”
Supplements may protect those with low vitamin D levels from severe COVID-19 [news release]. Endocrine Society; March 20, 2021. https://www.endocrine.org/news-and-advocacy/news-room/featured-science-from-endo-2021/supplements-may-protect-those-with-low-vitamin-d-levels-from-severe-covid19. Accessed March 30, 2021.