The science about possible protection from severe COVID-19 disease by Vitamin D is not complete at this time. Nevertheless, strong evidence suggests that Vitamin D does protect against COVID-19, both by helping our immune systems fight off the virus, as well as protecting our lungs from the harmful inflammation that causes severe illness.
What is the evidence?
- Multiple studies have found that low levels of Vitamin D are associated with worse outcomes to COVID infection [1-10].
- Vitamin D helps us fight off other respiratory (lung) infections, such as colds and flu [11-15].
- Vitamin D can help reduce levels of inflammatory cytokines that are known to be a risk factor in severe COVID illness [16-23].
This evidence is so strong that:
Dr. Anthony Fauci recommends it .
- Vitamin D is frequently given to COVID patients in the hospital, including Donald Trump [25,26].
The government in Scotland is giving free Vitamin D to residents, to help ward off severe COVID .
- Meltzer, D. et al. 2020. Association of Vitamin D Status and Other Clinical Characteristics With COVID-19 Test Results. JAMA Netw. Open. 3: e2019722.
- Jain, A. et al. Analysis of vitamin D level among asymptomatic and critically ill COVID-19 patients and its correlation with inflammatory markers. Sci. Rep. 10:20191.
- Benskin, L. 2020. A Basic Review of the Preliminary Evidence That COVID-19 Risk and Severity Is Increased in Vitamin D Deficiency. Front. Public Health. 8:513.
- Kaufman, H. et al. 2020. SARS-CoV-2 positivity rates associated with circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels. PLoS One. 15:e0239252.
- Martineau, A. & Forouhi, N. 2020. Vitamin D for COVID-19: a case to answer? Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 8:735.
- Slominski, R. et al. 2020. COVID-19 and Vitamin D: A lesson from the skin. Exp. Dermatol. 10.1111/exd.14170.
- Fidler, S. et al. Can Vitamin D Help Fight Covid-19? Wall St Journal. Nov. 2, 2020.
- Grant, W. et al. 2020. Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths. Nutrients. 12:988.
- Munshi, R. et al. 2020. Vitamin D insufficiency as a potential culprit in critical COVID-19 patients. J. Med. Virol. doi: 10.1002/jmv.26360.
- Frieden, T. Former CDC Chief Dr. Tom Frieden: Coronavirus infection risk may be reduced by Vitamin D. Fox News. March 23, 2020.
- McGreevy, S. & Morrison, M. 2017. Study confirms vitamin D protects against colds and flu. The Harvard Gazette.
- Hansfottir, S et al. 2010. Vitamin D decreases respiratory syncytial virus induction of NF-kappaB-linked chemokines and cytokines in airway epithelium while maintaining the antiviral state. J Immunol. 184:965.
- Martineau, A. et al. 2017. Vitamin D supplementation to prevent acute respiratory tract infections: systematic review and meta-analysis of individual participant data. The British Medical Journal. 356:i6583.
- Ginde, A. et al. 2017. High-Dose Monthly Vitamin D for Prevention of Acute Respiratory Infection in Older Long-Term Care Residents: A Randomized Clinical Trial. J. American Geriatric Society 65: 496.
- Sabetta, J. et al. 2010. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d and the incidence of acute viral respiratory tract infections in healthy adults. PLoS One. 5:e11088.
- di Rosa, M. et al. 2011. Vitamin D3: a helpful immune-modulator. Immunology 134:123.
- Khoo, A-L. et al. 2011. Regulation of cytokine responses by seasonality of vitamin D status in healthy individuals. Clin. Exp. Immunol. 164:72.
- Skrobot, A. et al. 2018. Immunomodulatory Role of Vitamin D: A Review. Adv. Exp. Med. Biol. 1108:13.
- Daneshkhah, A. et al. 2020. Evidence for possible association of vitamin D status with cytokine storm and unregulated inflammation in COVID-19 patients. Aging Clin. Exp. Res. 32:2141.
- Cao, X. 2020. COVID-19: immunopathology and its implications for therapy. Nature Rev. Immunol. 20:269.
- Mehta, P. et al. 2020. COVID-19: consider cytokine storm syndromes and immunosuppression. Lancet 395:1033.
- Garvin, M. et al. 2020. A mechanistic model and therapeutic interventions for COVID-19 involving a RAS-mediated bradykinin storm. eLife 9:e59177.
- Dasgupta, A. 2020. Is a Bradykinin Storm Brewing in COVID-19? The Scientist. August 26, 2020.
- Scipioni, J. The supplement Dr. Fauci takes to help keep his immune system healthy. CNBC. September 14, 2020.
- Entrenas Castillo, M. et al. 2020. Effect of Calcifediol Treatment and best Available Therapy versus best Available Therapy on Intensive Care Unit Admission and Mortality Among Patients Hospitalized for COVID-19: A Pilot Randomized Clinical study. J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. 203:105751.
- Radcliffe, S. Here’s What to Know About Trump’s Experimental COVID-19 Treatment. Healthline.com, October 5, 2020.
- Horne, M. Coronavirus in Scotland: Vulnerable will receive vitamin D supplements. The Times (of London) October 28, 2020.