The latest evidence from scientists from Europe, the USA and the UK including researchers from the University of Birmingham have published a consensus paper on vitamin D supplementation. It categorically states that supplementation with high doses of vitamin D will not prevent or cure Covid-19.
It is an important study because it has been reasoned that this vitamin might be an essential component in the fight against the corona-virus. At the moment the evidence to support the view that this vitamin is beneficial in this regard is poor and is insufficient to draw any firm conclusions. On that basis the authors all recommend that people follow Public Health England guidance on supplementation.
An almost mythical status had grown up around vitamin D in treating Covid-19. The vitamin is well known for its importance in bolstering the immune system and as a highly valuable nutritional compound for preventing rickets. It primarily helps in the regulation of calcium and phosphate. It is vital for bone formation and remodelling of bone and generally keeps us healthy.
It was thought however that doses as high as 4000IU/day could reduce the risk of contracting the virus. This level could also be effective in treating infections.
One of the main issues about the high levels of supplementation has been the number of people presenting themselves at hospital with vitamin D overdosing. Strangely, it is not a true vitamin but a hormone that is produced in the skin when we are exposed to UV rays as in sunlight.
The study is published in the British Medical Journal (Lanham-New et al., 2020).
It is worth noting that there are a number of forms of this vitamin. It is also known that an association exists between vitamin D and respiratory complaints and illness.
The paper offers some valuable information for those like us posting in blogs. A summary is provided for social media purposes and is worth examining. It also gives a great critique of the general value of the vitamin and statements from government sources on recommended levels for different age groups.
What is probably disappointing for many is that many populations with low vitamin D status appear to have the highest infection and death rates. Clearly a simple solution to treatment would be much appreciated by these populations at greater risk from Covid-19.
Lanham-New, S.A., Webb, A.R., Cashman, K.D. et al., (2020) Vitamin D and SARS-CoV-2 virus/COVID-19 disease. BMJ Nutr., Prev., Health. (Article)