Objective: Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 severity. This multi-center randomized clinical trial aims to determine the effects of 5000 IU versus 1000 IU daily oral vitamin D3 supplementation in the recovery of symptoms and other clinical parameters among mild to moderate COVID-19 patients with sub-optimal vitamin D status.
Study design and setting: A total of 69 reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) SARS-CoV-2 positive adults who were hospitalized for mild to moderate COVID-19 disease were allocated to receive once daily for 2 weeks either 5000 IU oral vitamin D3 (n = 36, 21 males; 15 females) or 1000 IU oral vitamin D3 (standard control) (n = 33, 13 males; 20 females). Anthropometrics were measured and blood samples were taken pre- and post-supplementation. Fasting blood glucose, lipids, serum 25(OH)D, and inflammatory markers were measured. COVID-19 symptoms were noted on admission and monitored until full recovery.
Results: Vitamin D supplementation for 2 weeks caused a significant increase in serum 25(OH)D levels in the 5000 IU group only (adjusted p = 0.003). Within-group comparisons also showed a significant decrease in BMI and IL-6 levels overtime in both groups (p-values < 0.05) but was not clinically significant in between-group comparisons. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that the 5000 IU group had a significantly shorter time to recovery (days) than the 1000 IU group in resolving cough, even after adjusting for age, sex, baseline BMI, and D-dimer (6.2 ± 0.8 versus 9.1 ± 0.8; p = 0.039), and ageusia (loss of taste) (11.4 ± 1.0 versus 16.9 ± 1.7; p = 0.035).
Conclusion: A 5000 IU daily oral vitamin D3 supplementation for 2 weeks reduces the time to recovery for cough and gustatory sensory loss among patients with sub-optimal vitamin D status and mild to moderate COVID-19 symptoms. The use of 5000 IU vitamin D3 as an adjuvant therapy for COVID-19 patients with suboptimal vitamin D status, even for a short duration, is recommended.
Keywords: COVID-19; clinical trial; saudi; vitamin D; vitamin D insufficiency.