Coronavirus : Update 22 from the Epicenter
OK, so the results are in on the world’s clinical trial testing the effectiveness of vitamin D3 on the outcome of Covid-19 patients admitted to hospital.
The study, “Effect of Calcifediol Treatment and best Available Therapy versus best Available Therapy on Intensive Care Unit Admission and Mortality Among Patients Hospitalized for COVID-19: A Pilot Randomized Clinical study,” was published in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology on 29 August
The trial involved only a small number (76) of consecutively admitted patients), however the procedures utilized were robust.
Although this was a small trial, the ICU results are so dramatic that they are statistically highly significant
From a mechanistic standpoint, vitamin D3 and Covid-19 both target the same systems — namely the immune and renin-angiotensin systems (RAS).
A team of researchers at Oakridge National Laboratory in the US recently published a paper hypothesizing that Covid-19 kills by ”bradykinin storm”. The RAS regulates blood pressure and fluid volume and breaks down bradykinin, but this is interrupted by the virus, leading to the accumulation of bradykinin, which makes blood vessels leaky. This poses multiorgan consequences, causing leakage of fluid and immune cells into the lungs and breakdown of the blood-brain-barrier.
The research team then proposes vitamin D as a potential treatment for Covid-19 due to its ability to regulate RAS and prevents bradykinin accumulation. Vitamin D also acts as an immunomodulator that keeps inflammation at bay while activating T-cells, which help fight infections and establish resistance.
In the trial, 50 of the patients were given a large dose (532 micro grams) of the vitamin D analogue Calcifediol upon admission. The control group received exactly the same treatment, except they received a placebo instead of the vitamin.
Of the 26 patients in the control group, 13 (50%) were subsequently moved to the ICU to receive intensive care, and 2 died. Of the 50 patients receiving Calcifediol, only 1 (2%) required intensive care, and all were finally discharged without complications.
Both groups had similar baseline characteristics in terms of age, sex, comorbidities (lung, cardiovascular, and kidney diseases, type 2 diabetes, and immunosuppression), and clinical biomarkers of disease severity (oxygen levels, C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, ferritin, D-dimer, lactate dehydrogenase, and lymphocyte count)
Calcifediol is simply the chemical produced when your liver synthesizes vitamin D. It can be taken orally, is aborted by the gut, and acts immediately to raise vitamin D levels in the body. Regular vitamin D3 pills take a couple of days to metabolize and become effective.
In the US, roughly 42% of the population is vitamin D deficient, and that increases to 70% for Hispanics and 82% for African Americans. This September 2020 cohort study of 489 subjects tested for vitamin D concluded that those with deficient levels were 1.77 times more likely to test positive for Covid-19 during the subsequent 12 months.
So, if taking vitamin D3 supplements every day nearly halves your risk of contracting Covid-19, and receiving a high-strength dose on admission to hospital appears to reduce your chances of entering the ICU by 93%, why aren’t more trials being done? Why isn’t the WHO or CDC intensively studying this phenomenon? Why aren’t governments advising people to pop a pill every day – especially as winter sets in?
If you want to know more about this important study then you can read this excellent Medium article from Shin Jie Yong or watch this charming video on YouTube from Dr. John Campbell. I borrowed heavily from both for this piece 😉
Interesting and provoking, as usual. And hopefully not fake as “An Aspirin will save us all!”.
But despite the passion for chemistry, we may just eat more salmon, tuna, mushrooms sardines, milk… and remember to enjoy the sun. That does not hurt and may help us in resisting to Covid.