Several recent studies have looked at the effects of vitamin D on COVID-19. A study of 489 people found that those who were vitamin D deficient were more likely to test positive for the virus that causes COVID-19 than those who had normal vitamin D levels.
Other research has observed high rates of vitamin D deficiency in people with COVID-19 who experienced acute respiratory failure. These people had a significantly higher risk of death. And a small, randomized study found that out of 50 people hospitalized with COVID-19 who were given a high dose of a type of vitamin D (calcifediol), only one needed intensive care. In contrast, of the 26 people with COVID-19 who were not given calcifediol, 13 had to be treated in the intensive care unit.
Further research is needed to determine what role vitamin D and vitamin D deficiency could play in preventing and treating COVID-19.
In addition, vitamin D deficiency is common in the United States, especially among Hispanics and blacks. These groups are disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Vitamin D deficiency is also more common in the elderly, people with a body mass index of 30 or higher (obesity), and people with high blood pressure (high blood pressure). These factors also increase your risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms.
In recent years, however, two randomized clinical trials examining the effects of vitamin D supplementation have had less hopeful results. In both studies, people with vitamin D deficiency and serious illness were given high doses of vitamin D – not with COVID-19. Vitamin D did not reduce the length of their hospital stays or the death rate compared to those given a placebo.
In the meantime, if you are vitamin D deficient, speak to your doctor about whether a supplement might be right for you. If you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, ask your doctor for a review.
The information in this post was correct at the time of publication. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding along with guidelines and recommendations may have changed since the original publication date.
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