A new study conducted at Hospital del Mar in Barcelona has shown that vitamin D supplementation given to Covid patients cut death rates by over 50% and admission to ICU by 80%.
The findings of the study support those of a smaller pilot trial carried out last summer.
For the latest study, researchers randomly assigned calcifediol (a form of vitamin D3) treatment to 551 participants from a group of 930 patients admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 symptoms.
In their open randomized study conducted during the first European outbreak of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers observed that in hospitalized COVID-19 patients, treatment with calcifediol reduced the requirement for critical care by more than 80%.
Treatment when started at the time of hospitalisation was also found to reduce mortality by more than 50%. The researchers emphasis the importance of early calcifediol administration (prior to ARDS – acute respiratory distress syndrome development), which they say is critical for mortality reduction, since initiation of calcifediol during ICU admission did not modify patient survival.
The Spanish team suggests that the most likely mechanism of action is that calcifediol interferes with COVID-19-induced ARDS development. ARDS is the most common indication for admitting a COVID-19 patient into the ICU.
The researchers write: “These findings point to the relevance of an adequate vitamin D status as soon as possible in the setting of SARS-CoV2 infection. This is particularly important as vitamin D deficiency is frequent but easily correctable.”