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Vitamin D may ease severe covid-19


Since the beginning of covid, there’s been quite bit of interest in the role of vitamin D3 in helping boost our immune systems. Now, a new meta-analysis of 13 randomised clinical trials by researchers at Poland’s Medical University of Lodz has found that vitamin D3 can indeed reduce covid-19 severity. The analysis looked at length of hospital stay, the number of intensive care unit (ICU) admissions, length of stay in the ICU, the number of people requiring extra oxygen and how long they might need it, and the number of deaths associated with covid-19. The researchers conclude that vitamin D3 supplementation does reduce the risk of ICU admission and death associated with covid-19.

Vitamin D3 has been known to benefit a number of conditions, such as type-2 diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It also modulates our immune system, acts as an antimicrobial agent and can counteract viral infections and lower oxidative stress. Without it, there’s the extra risk of lung and cardiovascular damage.

And given a significant percentage of patients with severe covid-19 symptoms were vitamin D3-deficient, this research shows ongoing supplementation rather than a single high dose is more effective. One study in Tunisia found that a high, single dose of vitamin D3 didn’t reduce hospital stays, however, an observational study in the UK found that repeated doses during hospital stays did reduce deaths among study participants who were vitamin D3-deficient when they went into hospital. Another trial in Mexico City found that a high dose of vitamin D3 administered for 30 days, reduced the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in medical professionals compared to those who took a placebo.

While vitamin D3 had a positive effect on ICU admission and mortality, the analysis found it didn’t significantly influence the length of hospital stays, length of stay in the ICU, and the need for extra oxygenation.

The study’s authors say there are some limitations. Various factors may influence the effectiveness of vitamin D3 supplementation. For example, a lack of sunlight exposure, age, and comorbidities such as type-2 diabetes, obesity and hypertension are all important risk factors that may cause severe covid-19 infection.

“It is undeniable that vitamin D3 supplementation has a beneficial effect on the course of COVID-19 infection,” the researchers say. “Nevertheless, larger clinical trials are required to fully confirm the effect of vitamin D3 in the context of covid-19.”

The randomised controlled trials were carried out Spain, Brazil, Russia, Switzerland, Mexico, Egypt, France, Argentina, Belgium, Iran, Tunisia, the UK and Croatia.

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