Covid: Vitamin D deficient people on supplements less likely to test positive, finds PGIMER study
The study was conducted by a team of doctors from endocrinology department, internal medicine department and anaesthesia departmentUpdated: Nov 19, 2020, 00:05 IST
A study conducted on asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic Covid positive individuals by researchers at Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) has found that vitamin D deficient individuals on a high dose of oral supplementation tested negative for Covid-19 in a greater proportion than those who were not taking the supplement.
The study was conducted by doctors from endocrinology department including, Ashu Rastogi, Anil Bhansali and Naresh Sachdeva, doctors from internal medicine department including, Niranjan Khare, Vikas Suri, and Pankaj Malhotra and doctors from anaesthesia department including, GD Puri and Narayana Yaddanapudi
During the study, individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection without comorbidities (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive airway disease, chronic liver disease, chronic kidney disease) admitted to the institute with vitamin D deficiency, were randomised to receive a daily dose of cholecalciferol in the ‘intervention arm’, while individuals of the control group (placebo) were given distilled water.
As many as 89 SARS-CoV-2 RNA positive individuals were evaluated out of which 40 were subsequently randomised (16 in the intervention arm and 24 to the control arm). In the study, it was found that 10 out of 16 (62.5%) participants in the intervention group achieved SARS-CoV-2 negativity compared to five out of 24 (20.8%) participants in the control arm.
Also, the level of fibrinogen (a blood plasma protein and one of the factors for normal blood clotting, levels of which spike in patients due to Covid) in individuals who had achieved normal vitamin levels compared to vitamin-D deficient individuals had a significant difference, suggesting a possible immunomodulatory effect of vitamin D.
However, the changes in the fibrinogen level, though statistically significant, were modest and may not be clinically meaningful, the researchers stated.
The researchers noted that the recommendations by the Centre for Disease Control and other regulatory bodies including the Indian Council of Medical Research do not mandate repeat SARS CoV-2 RNA testing to document SARS CoV-2 negative before the discharge of asymptomatic individuals, hence achieving SARS CoV-2 negativity in greater proportions is likely to be beneficial.
However, certain limitations of the study included that only mildly symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals were enrolled in the study which limits the generalisability of the results, and the placebo used in the study was not exactly matched with regard to the taste and consistency with the cholecalciferol nanoformulation. Also, the dose of cholecalciferol used in the study is high compared to conventional treatment, which warrants close follow-ups to look for vitamin D toxicity.