Study: Vitamin D Supplementation Could Protect From Severe COVID-19

March 31, 2021
Aislinn Antrim, Associate Editor

Earlier research has found that vitamin D supplementation can prevent inflammation in other respiratory diseases, but there have been limited studies examining the role of vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19.

New research suggests that hospitalized patients with COVID-10 and low vitamin D levels could have a lower risk of dying or requiring mechanical ventilation if they receive at least 1000 units of vitamin D supplementation weekly, according to a press release.

Earlier research has found that vitamin D supplementation can prevent inflammation in other respiratory diseases, but the investigators noted that there have been limited studies examining the role of vitamin D supplementation in COVID-19. The press release noted a study published last fall in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, which found that more than 80% of 200 COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Spain had vitamin D deficiency.

The authors of the current study said their goal was to determine whether being supplemented with vitamin D before hospital admission with COVID-19 resulted in less severe disease.

“Given how common vitamin D deficiency is in the world and the United States, we believe that this research is highly relevant right now,” said co-author Sweta Chekuri, MD, in the press release.

The investigative team studied 124 adult patients with low vitamin D levels that were measured up to 90 days before their admission for COVID-19. They compared the patients who were supplemented with at least 1000 units of vitamin D weekly to those who had not received supplements to see whether they were mechanically ventilated or died during admission.

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.”

REFERENCE

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.