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Vitamin D Supplements Don’t Reduce COVID-19 Risk (used only 3,200 IU daily) - Oct 2022

JAMA. 2022;328(16):1581. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.15486
Anita Slomski

A trial found that adults who took oral vitamin D supplements during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic when vaccine coverage was low were not protected against COVID-19 or any other acute respiratory tract infections.

The trial, conducted in the UK from December 2020 through June 2021, involved 6200 participants aged 16 years or older. Half the participants were offered a vitamin D blood test and, of this group, 86% had suboptimal vitamin D levels and received either 800 IU/d or 3200 IU/d of vitamin D supplements for 6 months. The other half of participants did not receive testing or supplements.

Neither of the vitamin D doses showed an effect on all-cause acute respiratory tract infections or COVID-19 cases specifically compared with the control group. At least 1 acute respiratory tract infection occurred in 5.7% of the lower-dose group, 5% of the higher-dose group, and 4.6% of the control group. Of 178 participants who developed COVID-19, 3.6% were in the lower-dose vitamin D group, 3% were in the higher-dose group, and 2.6% were in the control group. There were no differences in COVID-19 severity or prolonged symptoms between the 3 groups.

The results were reported in The BMJ along with those from a trial of cod liver oil, which contains low doses of vitamin D and vitamin A as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Nearly 35 000 adults in Norway were randomly assigned to receive either 5 mL of cod liver oil or 5 mL of placebo daily for 6 months. The majority of participants had adequate vitamin D levels at the start of the study. The researchers found no effect of cod liver oil on acute respiratory infections or COVID-19 compared with placebo over the study period, which ran from November 2020 through June 2021.

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