The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused many people to turn to vitamins and supplements in the hope of boosting their immune systems. But can vitamin D help treat COVID-19? While there is not enough data to recommend the use of vitamin D to prevent infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 or to treat it, research has observed high rates of vitamin D deficiency in people with COVID-19 who experienced acute respiratory failure. These people were at significantly higher risk of dying. A small, randomized study found that of 50 people hospitalized with COVID-19 who were given a high dose of one type of vitamin D (calcifediol), only one needed treatment in the intensive care unit.
In contrast, of the 26 people with COVID-19 who did not receive calcifediol, 13 needed treatment in the intensive care unit. This suggests that vitamin D may have a protective effect against severe COVID-19 symptoms. However, more research is needed to determine if vitamin D can help treat COVID-19. The National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization both caution that there is insufficient data to recommend the use of vitamin D for this purpose. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, talk to your doctor to find out if a supplement might be right for you. Objective studies are currently underway to investigate the effect of high-dose oral cholecalciferol supplementation on SARS-CoV-2 viral clearance.
It is possible that these effects may not be seen in bolus administration of vitamin D and may be more pronounced only in the long-term maintenance of higher levels of 25 (OH), D.If you're concerned about your vitamin D level, ask your doctor about getting a checkup. In the meantime, it's important to follow all public health guidelines and take other steps to protect yourself from COVID-19.