The use of vitamins are a common anecdotal story for fighting the virus, with various levels of accuracy to clinical outcomes. When it comes to those who are hospitalised with serious COVID, can the vitamin make a difference?
Researchers at the University of São Paulo’s Medical School (FM-USP) recruited 240 patients treated at Hospital das Clínicas (HC) and the Ibirapuera field hospital in São Paulo City.
The study was then conducted over June to August, in 2020.
Vitamin D generally reduces inflammation, says scientist
Rosa Pereira, principal investigator for the project, said: “In vitro studies or trials with animals had previously shown that in certain situations vitamin D and its metabolites can have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects, as well as modulating the immune response.
“We decided to investigate whether a high dose of the substance could have a protective effect in the context of an acute viral infection, reducing either the inflammation or the viral load.”
Did the dosage impact ICU admissions?
One group was given vitamin D3 in a single dose of 200,000 units (IU) dissolved in a peanut oil solution, and the only was only given the peanut oil solution. The patients received a normal level of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs.
The scientists wanted to see if adding vitamin D would have an impact on how long patients would be in the hospital, or how many people are admitted to ICU. Sadly, there was no real difference between the two groups.
Scientists suggest that a larger number of volunteers would give more nuanced results, especially to create a more accurate estimate of the effect on mortality.
Bruno Gualano, a researcher at FM-USP and penultimate author of the article, explains that there is no “silver bullet” for the treatment of COVID-19. He commented: “But that doesn’t mean continuous use of vitamin D can’t have beneficial effects of some kind.”
Rosa Pereira further commented: “So far we can say there’s no indication to administer vitamin D to patients who come to the hospital with severe COVID-19.”