vitamin D deficiency increases risk of death from COVID-19 and supplementing vitamin D may improve recovery

Imagine if something as simple, safe and inexpensive as vitamin D could help fight COVID-19. We have written a lot about vitamin D and COVID-19. Now two new published studies add to the promise of this important vitamin.

The first study included 42 people with acute respiratory failure due to COVID-19. Acute respiratory distress syndrome is an important cause of admission to intensive care units for people with COVID-19.

Strikingly, it found that 82% of them were deficient in vitamin D. When they analyzed the risk of dying from COVID-19, they discovered the alarming fact that, after 10 days of hospitalization, people with severe vitamin D deficiency had a 50% chance of dying compared to only 5% for people with higher levels of vitamin D. That means that people who get COVID-19 have a significantly greater chance of dying if they have a deficiency of vitamin D (J Endocrinol Invest 2020:1–7).

So, what happens if you give people with COVID-19 vitamin D? A second study included four vitamin D deficient people with COVID-19. They were given either a low dose of vitamin D or a high dose of vitamin D. The high dose was 50,000 IU a day for five days. The results were encouraging. The ones who got the high dose of vitamin D needed less oxygen and, importantly, reduced markers of inflammation. They also had to stay in the hospital for a shorter length of time (Am J Ther 2020;27(5):e485-e490).

These two just published studies add to the growing body of evidence that vitamin D deficiency can worsen prognosis and increase the risk of dying of COVID-19 and that supplementing vitamin D may improve recovery.


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