There's new evidence vitamin D may help treat COVID-19 by reducing the severity of infection
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A small new study found that coronavirus patients who took calcifediol, a potent metabolite form of vitamin D, were less likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit and none of them died.
This is supported by previous evidence that getting enough vitamin D could protect against severe cases of COVID-19.
However, it's not clear whether diet supplements will benefit people who are already getting enough vitamin D and how other risk factors play a role. Therefore, further research is needed.
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According to a small study published in the October issue of the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, there is new evidence that a dose of vitamin D could improve patient outcomes for coronavirus patients.
Researchers from the University of Cordoba, Spain studied 76 patients admitted to Reina Sofia University Hospital for COVID-19. All patients received the best treatment available, but 50 patients also randomly received calcifediol, a metabolized form of vitamin D3 that can quickly increase vitamin D levels in patients.
The study found that patients taking calcifediol were significantly less likely to need intensive care and none of them died. Of the control group of 26 patients who did not receive the supplement, 13 were admitted to the intensive care unit and 2 died.
This suggests that calcifediol (three doses in this study - 0.532 mg on day one, 0.266 mg on day three and seventh) might reduce the severity of COVID-19 infection and lower the risk of complications, the researchers said.
"Calcifediol appears to be able to reduce the severity of the disease, but larger studies with properly balanced groups will be needed to get a definitive answer," they concluded.
It's not clear if regular doses of vitamin D would do the trick
One limitation of the study, however, is that while patients were randomly given calcifediol, there were more patients in the control group with high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which are risk factors for serious coronavirus complications. These could partly explain why this group is more likely to get poor results.
It's not clear whether calcifediol is more effective than other forms of vitamin D supplementation at staving off potentially severe COVID-19. Calcifediol is significantly more effective and more easily absorbed than other forms of vitamin D, which could make it more effective in patients with illness or digestive problems.
The researchers also did not rate whether patients were deficient in vitamin D prior to treatment. Other research has found that adults are often vitamin D deficient in spring due to lack of access to sunlight, a natural source of vitamin D.
This could be important as it is not clear whether vitamin D supplements work by correcting a nutrient deficiency or whether patients who already have adequate vitamin D levels could benefit from a higher intake.
Previous studies have linked vitamin D deficiency and coronavirus risk
This study is the first of its kind to suggest that vitamin D supplementation could cause less severe COVID-19.
Previously, a growing body of research found evidence that getting enough vitamin D is linked to better outcomes with coronaviruses. Several studies have found a link between vitamin D levels and coronavirus outcomes, although no causal link has been established.
A study published last month found that patients with enough vitamin D are significantly less likely to face dangerous complications of the coronavirus such as difficulty breathing or loss of consciousness. And another small study found that people who were vitamin D deficient were twice as likely to be infected with coronavirus.
However, at least one study found no obvious link between the nutrient and the virus. And it is well documented that large doses of vitamin D are not a panacea for this or any other disease and can actually have serious side effects.
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There's even more evidence that getting enough vitamin D could reduce the risk of serious coronavirus infections
According to several new reports, vitamin D can be a good defense against the coronavirus. Here's what you need to know.
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