In a new study from the University of São Paulo, researchers found a high dose of vitamin D administered on admission to hospital cannot improve the condition of patients with moderate or severe COVID-19.
They report a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, the kind of study considered the gold standard to evaluate drug efficacy.
Previous studies have found that in certain situations vitamin D and its metabolites can have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects, as well as modulating the immune response.
In the study, the team recruited 240 patients. The volunteers were divided into two groups, one of which was given vitamin D3 in a single dose of 200,000 units (IU) dissolved in a peanut oil solution.
The other group was given only the peanut oil solution. All participants were treated according to the standard protocol for hospital treatment of the disease, which includes the administration of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
The team found no difference between the groups for any clinical outcomes, including the length of hospital stay and the risks of admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), intubation and death.
The findings suggest no indication to administer vitamin D to patients who come to the hospital with severe COVID-19. There is no “silver bullet” for the treatment of COVID-19.
The team says the ideal level of vitamin D in the blood and the daily supplementation dose varies according to age and overall health.
Older people and patients with chronic diseases including osteoporosis should have more than 30 nanograms per milliliter of blood (ng/mL). For healthy adults, 20 ng/mL is an acceptable threshold.
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The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. One author of the study is Rosa Pereira.