The UK Government agency tasked with undertaking a rapid evidence summary of vitamin D’s potential role in reducing the risks from Coronavirus has concluded that there is “no evidence to support taking vitamin D supplements to specifically prevent or treat COVID‑19”.

The review was ordered by Public Health England in response to work by researchers suggesting that vitamin D may prime the body’s defences against Covid-19. 

Researchers at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) reviewed five relevant observational studies (D’Avolio et al. 2020Hastie et al. 2020Ilie et al. 2020Laird et al. 2020  and Fasano et al. 2020), noting that none were intervention trials of vitamin D supplementation for the prevention or treatment of COVID‑19.

The agency concluded that all five studies had a “high risk of bias because of “the very low quality of evidence”, and that no causal relationship could be established after adjustment for confounders such as comorbidity, socio-demographics, ethnicity, BMI and other baseline factors.

A separate rapid review, conducted by the Scientific Advisory Commission on Nutrition (SACN), assessed evidence on vitamin D and acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs), although it did not look specifically at the effect of vitamin D supplementation on COVID-19 risk). This review also concluded that evidence currently does not support vitamin D supplementation to prevent ARTIs in the general UK population.

Both agencies continue to support UK Government advice that, during the COVID‑19 pandemic, everyone should should consider supplementing with vitamin D due to extended periods indoors during lockdown. SACN noted that its review “reiterates the importance of vitamin D for bone and muscle health”.

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