Vitamin D has been promoted as a cure-all. You may have seen headlines claiming that taking vitamin D can help prevent or even treat COVID-19, but there’s no solid science to support that yet. A paper recently published in BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health indicated that while everyone should strive to get enough of the vitamin, there’s still a dearth of research showing a beneficial effect on COVID-19.
“There’s no question that additional vitamin D is helpful if someone is low or deficient,” says F. Michael Gloth III, M.D., an associate professor in the division of geriatric medicine at Johns Hopkins University’s medical school. “But no trial has shown any benefit for giving vitamin D in any population that’s already getting enough.”
But there’s a connection between vitamin D levels and the risk of respiratory infections in general. The vitamin plays many roles throughout the body. “It supports a range of antiviral responses,” says Adrian Martineau, Ph.D., a clinical professor of respiratory infection and immunity at Queen Mary University of London. It boosts the ability of lung cells to fight bacteria and viruses, among other things, he says.
As always, please consult a healthcare professional before making major dietary changes.
Consumer Reports sifts through the evidence to help you decide if you should be taking vitamin D supplements, telling you what you should know about the risk of low levels, and who should be tested.