A NICE-led study into vitamin D and Covid-19 has concluded there is ‘not enough evidence’ that taking the supplement can treat or prevent the disease.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) said more research, particularly of high-quality randomised controlled trials, was needed as it reviewed, in collaboration with Public Health England, and the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, some studies that suggested vitamin D could help in the fight against coronavirus.
However, the new guidance, published today (Dec 17) states that people should continue to follow the current government advice on daily vitamin D supplementation to maintain bone and muscle health during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Paul Chrisp, guidelines director at NICE, said: “While there is insufficient evidence to recommend vitamin D for the prevention or treatment of Covid-19 at this time, we encourage people to follow government advice on taking the supplement throughout the autumn and winter period.
“As research continues on the impact of vitamin D on COVID-19, we are continuing to monitor evidence as it is published and will review and update the guidance if necessary.”
It is recommended that everyone should continue taking a daily dose of 10 microgram vitamin D supplement from October to early March, which is safe and effective at maintaining healthy vitamin D blood levels. Although sunlight exposure is the major source of vitamin D for most people during summer months, it can also be obtained from the diet or supplements.
The noted that many people have been indoors due to the pandemic, therefore it’s even more important this year to take a vitamin D supplement.
It said some people are more at risk of not having enough vitamin D even in spring and summer, including those with dark skin, those who are not outdoors often, those in care homes, and those who cover up most of the skin when outdoors. “We advise these people to take a vitamin D supplement all year round.”
Professor Ian Young, chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition, which advises PHE and other UK government organisations on nutrition and related health matters, said: “SACN has worked closely with NICE and PHE to consider the available evidence from recent studies on vitamin D in relation to Covid-19. This evidence review confirms that currently there is not enough available evidence to determine that there is a causal relationship between vitamin D and Covid-19.”