Background: Vitamin D has diverse and extensive effects on the immune system, including activating innate immunity and reducing the overactive adaptive immune response. A systematic review was performed to identify and synthesize the best available evidence on the association between vitamin D level and risk of COVID-19, adverse outcomes and possible benefits of supplementation in aged 60 years or over.
Methods: A literature search was performed in PubMed© and Scopus© for all publications from inception published before 15 March 2021. Studies reporting data from aged patients on vitamin D use and COVID-19 were included. Basic science articles, editorials and correspondence were excluded. Publication year, study design and setting, characteristics of the study population were extracted. This study is registered with PROSPERO, under the number CRD42020223993.
Results: In total, 707 studies were identified, of which 11 observational studies were included in the final review. Four studies compared vitamin D-supplemented COVID-19 patients to non-supplemented patients, and seven compared patients with vitamin D deficiency to patients without deficiency. In all four studies, patients with vitamin D supplementation had better rates of primary clinical outcomes (death, the severity of the disease, oxygen therapy requirement…). In studies comparing patients with vitamin D deficiency and patients without vitamin D deficiency, those without vitamin D deficiency had better primary clinical outcomes (death rate, the severity of the disease, oxygen therapy requirement, invasive mechanical ventilation need…).
Conclusion: This systematic review seems to support an association between vitamin D deficiency and the risk of COVID-19 in aged people. In addition, vitamin D deficiency appears to expose these subjects to a greater risk of adverse outcomes. Because of its simplicity of administration, and the rarity of side effects, including vitamin D in preventive strategies for certain viral diseases, it appears to be an attractive option.
Keywords: COVID-19; aged people; vitamin D.