A recent review by NICE has concluded that there is no sufficient evidence to support taking vitamin D supplements to specifically prevent or treat Covid-19.
It concluded that people should continue to follow Government advice on daily vitamin D supplementation, which is to take daily 10 microgram vitamin D supplement to protect musculoskeletal health.
At the same time, Royal Society has said that it is ‘possible’ that higher rates of Vitamin D deficiency could explain why black, Asian and ethnic minority patients face worse outcomes and is urging the Government to strengthen its advice on avoiding vitamin D deficiency.
It had been suggested that the high rates of infection and death among black, Asian and ethnic minority people may be related to vitamin D deficiency.
The NICE review said: ‘There is no evidence to support taking vitamin D supplements to specifically prevent or treat Covid-19. However, all people should continue to follow UK Government advice on daily vitamin D supplementation to maintain bone and muscle health during the Covid-19 pandemic.’
The Royal Society went slightly further. Professor Charles Bangham, chair of immunology at Imperial College London and a member of the group working on its Vitamin D paper – which was released almost two weeks ago – said: ‘Although the direct evidence on Vitamin D in Covid-19 is lacking, it is quite plausible that the same will hold for this virus.
‘It is possible that higher rates of Vitamin D deficiency could be one reason why people with darker skin are affected more seriously by the disease – but there are a lot of other factors as well so we need to collect this data.’
It is also recommending that hospitals consider assaying serum Vitamin D levels in patients with Covid-19, but stresses that more research is required to test the possibility that Vitamin D deficiency predisposes to the virus. This is particularly crucial for groups with a high risk of mortality from it, such as the ‘institutionalised elderly’ and people with a BAME background.
Further recommendations are that hospitals consider assaying serum Vitamin D levels in patients with Covid-19.
Meanwhile, PHE, SACN and NICE will continue to monitor and assess emerging evidence in this field.
The UK’s rates of Vitamin D deficiency are among the highest in Europe.