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COVID 19 VS VITAMIN D Can taking a vitamin D supplement prevent infection with the virus that causes the coronavirus disease 2019 COVID 19 There isn t enough data to recommend use of vitamin D to prevent infection with the virus that causes COVID 19 or to treat COVID 19 according to the National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization Several recent studies have looked at the impact of vitamin D on COVID 19 One study of 489 people found that those who had a vitamin D deficiency were more likely to test positive for the virus that causes COVID 19 than people who had normal levels of vitamin D Other research has observed high rates of vitamin D deficiency in people with COVID 19 who experienced acute respiratory failure These people had a significantly higher risk of dying And a small randomized study found that of 50 people hospitalized with COVID 19 who were given a high dose of a type of vitamin D calcifediol only one needed treatment in the intensive care unit In contrast among the 26 people with COVID 19 who weren t given calcifediol 13 needed to be treated in the intensive care unit In addition vitamin D deficiency is common in the United States particularly among Hispanic and Black people These groups have been disproportionately affected by COVID 19 Vitamin D deficiency is also more common in people who are older people who have a body mass index of 30 or higher obesity and people who have high blood pressure hypertension These factors also increase the risk of severe COVID 19 symptoms However in recent years two randomized clinical trials that studied the effects of vitamin D supplementation had less hopeful results In both trials high doses of vitamin D were given to people who had vitamin D deficiencies and were seriously ill not with COVID 19 Vitamin D didn t reduce the length of their hospital stays or their mortality rates when compared with those given a placebo Further research is needed to determine what role if any vitamin D and vitamin D deficiency might play in the prevention of and treatment of COVID 19 In the meantime if you have a vitamin D deficiency talk to your doctor about whether a supplement might be right for you If you re concerned about your vitamin D level ask your doctor about getting it checked

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