COVID-19 and Vitamin D: A lesson from the skin

Exp Dermatol. 2020 Aug 11;10.1111/exd.14170. doi: 10.1111/exd.14170. Online ahead of print.


The negative outcomes of COVID-19 diseases respiratory distress (ARDS) and the damage to other organs are secondary to a "cytokine storm" and to the attendant oxidative stress. Active hydroxyl forms of vitamin D are anti-inflammatory, induce antioxidative responses, and stimulate innate immunity against infectious agents. These properties are shared by calcitriol and the CYP11A1-generated non-calcemic hydroxyderivatives. They inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, downregulate NF-κΒ, show inverse agonism on RORγ and counteract oxidative stress through the activation of NRF-2. Therefore, a direct delivery of hydroxyderivatives of vitamin D deserves consideration in the treatment of COVID-19 or ARDS of different aetiology. We also recommend treatment of COVID-19 patients with high-dose vitamin D since populations most vulnerable to this disease are likely vitamin D deficient and patients are already under supervision in the clinics. We hypothesize that different routes of delivery (oral and parenteral) will have different impact on the final outcome.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; cytokine storm; oxidative stress; vitamin D; vitamin D-hydroxyderivatives.