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Sixty seconds on . . . vitamin D

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 05 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m3872

Rapid Response:

Re: Sixty seconds on . . . vitamin D

Dear Editor

Vitamin D and Corona virus infection

Dr Holick has noted that Vitamin D deficiency is a global health issue that afflicts more than one billion children and adults worldwide. He also observed an association of vitamin D deficiency with many acute and chronic diseases and Vitamin D deficiency is pandemic (1). Ilie and colleagues observed relationships between vitamin D levels and the number COVID-19 cases and also the mortality caused by this infection. Elderly people have a low vitamin D level (2).

Recently an Israeli study done by Dr Merzon and colleagues shows that suboptimal plasma vitamin D levels may be a potential risk factor for COVID-19 infection (3). This study is helpful for healthcare systems in identifying people at risk, and to reduce the risk of the COVID-19 infection. (3). Low plasma 25(OH)D level appears to be an important risk factor for COVID-19 infection (3).

To reduce the risk of infection, Dr Grant and colleagues recommended that people at risk of influenza and/or COVID-19 should consider taking 10,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise 25(OH)D concentrations, followed by 5000 IU/day. The world is in the grip of the COVID-19 and pandemic, and public health measures can reduce the risk of infection. Vitamin D may act by inducing cathelicidins and defensins that can lower viral replication rates (4).

Hence vitamin D is likely to be very useful in reducing the the spread of corona virus infection.

Dr Mahantayya V Math
Honorary Associate Professor in Physiology

Dr Rita M khadkikar
Associate Professor in Physiology

Dr Yashoda R Kattimani
Associate Professor in Physiology

MGM Medical College, Navi Mumai 410209, Maharashtra State ,India


1. Holick, M.F. (2017) The vitamin D deficiency pandemic: Approaches for diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Rev Endocr Metab Disord, 18, 153 -165.
2 Ilie, P.C., Stefanescu, S. and Smith, L. (2020) The role of vitamin D in the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 infection and mortality. Aging Clin Exp Res .
3. Merzon E, Tworowski D, Gomany rohovski A, et al. Low plasma 25(OH) vitamin D level is associated with increased risk of COVID-19 infection: an Israeli population-based study [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jul 23]. FEBS J. 2020;10.1111/febs.15495. doi:10.1111/febs.15495
4. Grant WB, Lahore H, McDonnell SL, Baggerly CA, French CB, Aliano JL, Bhattoa HP. Evidence that Vitamin D Supplementation Could Reduce Risk of Influenza and COVID-19 Infections and Deaths. Nutrients. 2020 Apr 2;12(4):988. doi: 10.3390/nu12040988. PMID: 32252338; PMCID: PMC7231123.

Competing interests: No competing interests

20 October 2020
Mahantayya V Math
Honorary Associate Professor in Physiology, Department of Physiology
Dr Rita M Khadkikar, Dr Yashoda R Kattimani
MGM Medical College, Navi Mumbai-410209, Maharashtra State, India
MGM medical College Navi Mumbai 410209 Maharashtra State India