No general recommendation for vitamin D supplementation is possible
Possible connections between a vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19 as well as possible advantages of a preventive intake of vitamin D have been discussed in the professional world for a long time. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) has now evaluated the studies available to date and summarized the most important findings.
In the specialist information “On the relationship between vitamin D intake or vitamin D status and the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the severity of the course of a COVID-19 disease – an overview of the current Study situation “the DGE comes to the conclusion that based on the available data no general recommendation for vitamin D supplementation is possible. However, there are indications of possible connections between COVID-19 and vitamin D status.
Important function for the immune system
“In addition to its central functions for bone health, vitamin D also has regulatory effects on the immune system,” explains the DGE. A possible connection with the risk of a coronavirus infection seems entirely plausible. The benefits of vitamin D in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 have therefore been the subject of intense discussion since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Evidence of a connection
Various studies suggest a possible link between vitamin D status and the risk of COVID-19. For example, the renowned Mayo Clinic (USA) refers in a recent article to a study with 489 people, which showed that people with vitamin D deficiency tested positive for the virus more often than people with normal vitamin D Values. In other studies, an increased proportion of COVID-19 sufferers with acute respiratory failure showed a vitamin D deficiency.
In another study, 50 people hospitalized for COVID-19 received a high dose of a pre-hormone vitamin D (calcifediol) and only one person required treatment in the intensive care unit, compared to 13 out of 26 people who were in The Mayo Clinic reported that the control group needed intensive care treatment.
Cause and effect relationship unclear
The DGE also points out that the current study situation suggests a potential connection between a low vitamin D serum level and an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection or a severe course of COVID-19. However, in agreement with the assessment of the Mayo Clinic and the World Health Organization (WHO), the DGE comes to the conclusion that the study results so far are insufficient to demonstrate a clear cause-effect relationship and the use of vitamin D for the prevention or treatment of COVID -19 to be recommended.
“There is no general recommendation for vitamin D supplementation to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection or to reduce the severity of COVID-19 disease. This is also supported by the statements of other specialist institutions such as the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) or the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) ”, according to the DGE announcement.
Vitamin D deficiency is common
However, the insufficient supply of vitamin D remains widespread in Germany and, especially in the winter months in our latitudes, UVB radiation is hardly sufficient for vitamin D synthesis in the skin. “A supplementation of vitamin D at the reference value of around 20 µg (800 IU) per day may therefore be necessary to ensure an adequate vitamin D status,” explains DGE President Professor Dr. Jakob Linseisen.
Overdose a risk
However, a constant overdose of vitamin D preparations (> 100 µg / day) can also lead to undesirable side effects such as kidney stones, kidney calcifications and disorders of the cardiovascular system, warns the DGE. The professional association therefore recommends that “an adequate supply of vitamin D is best achieved through the body’s own production through exposure to the sun and through diet.” If this does not work, the daily intake of vitamin D preparations equal to the reference value (20 µg / Day) is an option.
The DGE reports that higher dosages should “only be carried out under medical supervision and taking into account the individual vitamin D status”, even if no binding maximum levels for vitamin D content have been set for over-the-counter food supplements.
Not just one nutrient is crucial
Finally, the technical information points out that a balanced diet and regular exercise outdoors are essential for strengthening the immune system and maintaining general health. It is not just a single nutrient that plays a role, but a fundamentally adequate supply of energy and nutrients (including proteins, carbohydrates, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins and minerals as well as phytochemicals) is crucial. (fp)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters
- Mayo Clinic: Is there a connection between vitamin D deficiency and COVID-19? (veröffentlicht 02.02.2021), newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org
- German Nutrition Society (DGE): Vitamin D and COVID-19 – DGE provides an overview of the current study situation – no general recommendation for vitamin D supplementation possible (published February 4, 2021), dge.de
- German Society for Nutrition eV (DGE): On the relationship between vitamin D intake or vitamin D status and the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and the severity of the course of a COVID-19 disease – an overview of the current study situation (as of January 11, 2021), dge.de
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.