Despite the controversy that attributes the improvement of moderate and severe Covid-19 patients to the use of vitamin D, the administration of the supplement does not seem to be effective against the disease. This was the conclusion of a Brazilian study published last Wednesday (17) in the scientific journal Journal of the American Medical Association (Jama).
Conducted by researchers from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (FM-USP) with support from the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (Fapesp), the survey conducted clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of vitamin D in individuals diagnosed with Covid-19. The research was randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled and also sought to verify whether the use of the supplement can reduce the length of hospitalization of patients, as well as reducing the risk of hospitalization in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), intubation and death.
240 patients attended at the Hospital das Clínicas of FM-USP and the Hospital de Campanha do Ibirapuera participated in the tests, from June to August last year. A portion of them received a single oral dose of 200,000 IU (international unit) of vitamin D dissolved in peanut oil, while the others were given only the peanut oil solution (placebo).
The researchers found no significant differences in the two groups after the tests. In other words, the use of the supplement did not reduce the average length of stay, did not minimize the risks of mortality, nor decreased the admission of patients to ICUs. “So far, there is no indication to administer vitamin D to patients who arrive at the hospital with the severe form of Covid-19”, says Rosa Pereira, project coordinator.
Bruno Gualano, a researcher at FM-USP and co-author of the study, says that the supplement may have some effect against Covid-19 in the long run. “This does not mean, however, that the continued use of vitamin D cannot have any beneficial action,” he says.
In parallel with the test, Rosa is coordinating a survey to see if individuals with sufficient levels of vitamin D in their blood cope better with infection caused by the new coronavirus than those with insufficient levels of the component.