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BACKGROUND: The rapid global spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has re-ignited interest in the possible role of vitamin D in modulation of host responses to respiratory pathogens. Indeed, vitamin D supplementation has been proposed as a potential preventative or therapeutic strategy. Recommendations for any intervention, particularly in the context of a potentially fatal pandemic infection, should be strictly based on clinically informed appraisal of the evidence base. In this narrative review, we examine current evidence relating to vitamin D and COVID-19 and consider the most appropriate practical recommendations. OBSERVATIONS: Although there are a growing number of studies investigating the links between vitamin D and COVID-19, they are mostly small and observational with high risk of bias, residual confounding, and reverse causality. Extrapolation of molecular actions of 1,25(OH)2-vitamin D to an effect of increased 25(OH)-vitamin D as a result of vitamin D supplementation is generally unfounded, as is the automatic conclusion of causal mechanisms from observational studies linking low 25(OH)-vitamin D to incident disease. Efficacy is ideally demonstrated in the context of adequately powered randomised intervention studies, although such approaches may not always be feasible. CONCLUSIONS: At present, evidence to support vitamin D supplementation for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19 is inconclusive. In the absence of any further compelling data, adherence to existing national guidance on vitamin D supplementation to prevent vitamin D deficiency, predicated principally on maintaining musculoskeletal health, appears appropriate.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s40520-021-01894-z

Type

Journal article

Journal

Aging clin exp res

Publication Date

12/06/2021

Keywords

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Musculoskeletal health, Osteoporosis, Respiratory infection, Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), Vitamin D, Vitamin D deficiency